Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland (kōp´lənd), 1900–1990, American composer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Copland was a pupil of Rubin Goldmark and of Nadia Boulanger, who introduced his work to the United States when she conducted his Symphony for Organ and Orchestra in 1925. Although his earliest works show European influences, the American character of the greater part of his compositions is evident in his use of jazz and of American folk tunes, as in the short piece for chamber orchestra, John Henry (1940). Copland's many ballets include Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944). He composed music for the films Of Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940), The Red Pony (1948), and The Heiress (1949). His major orchestral works are El Salon Mexico (1936) and the Third Symphony (1946). Copland wrote a song cycle, 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson, and a quartet for piano and strings (both 1950), Canticle of Freedom for chorus and orchestra (1955), and a tone poem Inscape (1967). With Roger Sessions he founded the Copland-Sessions Concerts (1928–31) and in 1932 organized the American Festivals of Contemporary Music at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He lectured extensively and received many awards. His writings include What to Listen for in Music (1939, rev. ed. 1957), Copland on Music (1960), and The New Music: 1900–1960 (rev. ed. 1968).

See biographies by A. Berger (1953, repr. 1987) and H. Pollack (1999); study by N. Butterworth (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Conductors on Composers
John L. Holmes.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p 63
Copland on Music
Aaron Copland.
Doubleday, 1960
The Music Lover's Handbook
Elie Siegmeister.
William Morrow, 1943
Librarian’s tip: Includes multiple essays by and about Aaron Copland
Musical Nationalism: American Composers' Search for Identity
Alan Howard Levy.
Greenwood Press, 1983
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide
Michael Steinberg.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p. 128
Composers on Composers
John L. Holmes.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p. 51
Aaron Copland: A Guide to Research
Marta Robertson; Robin Armstrong.
Routledge, 2001
Music for the Common Man: Aaron Copland during the Depression and War
Elizabeth B. Crist.
Oxford University Press, 2005
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