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 major orchestral works are El Salon Mexico (1936) and the Third Symphony (1946); his many ballets include the well known Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944). He wrote the song cycle 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson, a quartet for piano and strings (both 1950), and Canticle of Freedom for chorus and orchestra (1955), and composed music for the films Of Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940), The Red Pony (1948), and The Heiress (1949). Copland also composed in the modernist idiom, as in his 12-tone orchestral piece Connotations (1962) and his serial 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, and his writings include What to Listen for in Music (1939, rev. ed. 1957), Copland on Music (1960), and The New Music: 1900–1960 (1968).

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

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Aaron Copland: Selected full-text books and articles

Conductors on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p 63
Copland on Music By Aaron Copland Doubleday, 1960
The Music Lover's Handbook By Elie Siegmeister William Morrow, 1943
Librarian's tip: Includes multiple essays by and about Aaron Copland
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide By Michael Steinberg Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p. 128
Composers on Composers By John L. Holmes Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: "Aaron Copland" begins on p. 51
Aaron Copland: A Guide to Research By Marta Robertson; Robin Armstrong Routledge, 2001
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