Aaron Copland

Copland's parents came to the United States from villages in Polish and Lithuanian Russia. His father's name was Anglicized from Kaplan to Copland during his time in England en route to the United States. The family owned a store in Brooklyn and prospered. Aaron was their fifth child, born on November 14, 1900, seven years after his nearest sister.

After learning what he could of the piano at home, young Aaron enrolled himself in study with Leopold Wolfsohn, with whom he remained three years, before advancing to study with Victor Wittgenstein and Clarence Adler.

Beginning in 1917 he began studying harmony, counterpoint and sonata form under Rubin Goldmark , a devotee of Beethoven and Wagner. At age 20 he had saved enough money to go to France and study at the new American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, near Paris. He was lucky enough to be the first American pupil of Nadia Boulanger, whom he found "exhilarating," and stayed with her until 1924. During these years, not only was he exposed to the tremendous cultural riches of Paris but he also traveled to England, Belgium and Italy. In addition he spent the summers, on Boulanger's advice, in Berlin, Vienna and Salzburg.

A 1921 performance he gave of his piano composition Le Chat et la souris resulted in the French publisher Jacques Durand coming backstage after the work and offering to issue the score. Thus it became Copland's first published work.

His first big work - an unperformed ballet Grohg - was composed at this time. The scenario was provided by Harold Clurman with whom he was sharing a Paris apartment and with whom he would share a common view of the world for years to come. Parts of Grogh turn up later in Dance Symphony (1930). In 1923-24 he composed the Organ Symphony for Mlle. Boulanger's American debut as an organist.

Returning to the United States he tried to establish himself as a private teacher and gained notice as a composer. In 1925 Music for the Theater was commissioned by Koussevitsky, in which Copland introduced jazz elements that he felt purged the "too European" flavor of his music. He joined the League of Composers and reported for its journal Modern Music.

Copland returned often to Europe and, with Roger Sessions, sponsored the Copland-Sessions Concerts 1928-31 in New York. Copland was also among the founders of the Yaddo Festivals, the Arrow Music Press and the American Composers Alliance.

Being concerned with the gap between contemporary composers and the public, Copland began to compose some pieces in a more accessible style, often influenced by his visits to Mexico at the invitation of Carlos Chavez. El Salon Mexico (1936), Billy The Kid (1938) and Rodeo (1942) all fall in this period, as does Appalachian Spring.

In 1940 Kousevitsky established the Berkshire Music Center, where Copland began as a teacher and advisor becoming chairman of the faculty, a position he held until his 1965 retirement. Copland taught for Piston when he was on leave from Harvard, and returned to that institution in 1951 as the first American composer to hold the Norton Professor of Poetics.

Copland was always a great promoter of American music, touring the world, conducting, writing books and teaching. He considered himself, along with Piston, Sessions, Thomson and Harris, part of "a nascent American school."

Aaron Copland was also the recipient of numerous honors including the Pulitzer Prize (1945), New York Music Critic's Circle award (1954), an 'Oscar' for The Heiress (1950), The Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), and honorary degrees from Princeton, Oberlin, Harvard, and Brandeis Universities. In 1982, The Aaron Copland School of Music was established in his honor at Queens College of the City University of New York. He also authored several books including What to Listen for in Music (1939), Music and Imagination (1952), and Copland on Music (1960).

Copland showed the first signs of Alzheimer's disease in the early 1970s and from that point on virtually stopped composing, although he continued to conduct until he was 83 years old. His final compositions, both being based on earlier material, were Midday Thoughts and Proclamation. Proclamation was performed during a concert celebrating his 85th birthday in 1982. He died December 2, 1990 at North Tarrytown, New York.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1925 Dance Symphony 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland Review:
Detroit Symphony Orchestra cond. Antal Dorati
1926 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Garrick Ohlsson - Piano
San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tilson Thomas
1926 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Michael Rische - Piano
WDR Sinfonieorchester Koeln cond. Steven Sloane
1926 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Benjamin Pasterrnak - Piano
Elgin Symphony Orchestra cond. Robert Hanson
1927-1929 Symphonic Ode 3.50 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Symphonic Ode Review:
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aaron Copland
1927-1929 Symphonic Ode 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tilson Thomas
1930 Preamble for a Solemn Occasion 4.00 out of 5 stars LP
Aaron Copland - Preamble for a Solemn Occasion Review:
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aaron Copland
1931-1933 Short Symphony (No 2) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tilson Thomas
1936 Prairie Journal 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. JoAnn Fallettas
1936 El Salon Mexico 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland Review:
Detroit Symphony Orchestra cond. Antal Dorati
1938 Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) 4.00 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) Review:
Dallas Symphony Orchestra cond. Donald Johanos
1938 Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) Review:
You'll never hear it any better!

San Francisco Symphony cond. Michel Tilson Thomas

1938 Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:

London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aron Copland

1938 Billy the Kid (for reduced orchestra) 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cond. Hugo Wolff

1938 An Outdoor Overture 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) Review:
Boston Pops Orchestra cond. Arthur Fiedler
1938 An Outdoor Overture 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel
1939 Music for Radio, 'Prairie Journal' 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra cond, Leonard Slatkin

1939-1940 Quiet City 4.50 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Quiet City Review:
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields cond. Neville Marriner
1939-1940 Quiet City 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Same recording as above

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields cond. Neville Marriner

1939-1940 Quiet City 3.50 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Quiet City Review:
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Lucas Foss
1939-1949 Quiet City 4.50 out of 5 stars
Review:
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Eric Whitacre

Recorded from BBC Proms 2015

1941 Our Town 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra cond, Leonard Slatkin
1942   Fanfare for the Commen Man 4.50 out of 5 stars  CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Netherlands Wind Ensemble cond. Richard Dufallo
1942 Fanfare for the Commen Man 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Zubin Mehta
1942 Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) 4.00 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Rodeo Review:
Buckaroo Holiday
Corral Nocturne
Saterday Night Waltz
Hoe-Down

London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aaron Copland

1942 Rodeo 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Detroit Symphony Orchestra cond. Antal Dorati
1942 Music for the Movies 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland Review:
London Symphonietta cond. Elgar Howarth
1942 Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) 5.00 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) Review:
Play this every morning at breakfast, and your life will never be the same again

San Francisco Symphony cond. Michel Tilson Thomas

1942 Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. JoAnn Fallettas
1942 Danzon Cubano for two piano's 4.0 out of 5 importance CD

Comments:

Paul Jacobs - Piano
Aron Copland - Piano

1942 Fanfare for the Common Man 4.00 out of 5 stars LP
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aaron Copland
1942 Lincoln Portrait 4.00 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Lincoln Portrait Review:
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Zubin Mehta
1942 Lincoln Portrait 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel

With Katherine Hepburn

1943 Music for Movies (Concert Suite) 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra cond, Leonard Slatkin
1944 Appalachian Spring 4.50 out of 5 stars LP
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring [Ballet for Martha] Review:
This Ballet was written for Martha Graham.
It is the 3rd in a cyclus with "Wild West" themes.
Background info

Very lively played by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Zubin Metha
1944 Appalachian Spring 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Same recording as above

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Zubin Mehta

1944 Appalachian Spring 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Billy the Kid (Ballet Suite) Review:

San Francisco Symphony cond. Michel Tilson Thomas

1944 Letter from Home 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. JoAnn Fallettas
1945 Jubilee Variations 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel
1946 Third Symphony 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:

London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aron Copland

1942-1946 Danzon Cubano 4.00 out of 5 stars LP
Aaron Copland - Danzon Cubano Review:
Orchestrated version from 1946

New York Philharmonic cond. Leonard Bernstein

1928-1948 Four Piano Blues 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Piano Blues Review:
Peter Toperczer - Piano
1928-1948 Four Piano Blues 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Piano Blues Review:
Tiny Wirtz - Piano
1928-1948 Four Piano Blues 4.0 out of 5 importance CD

Comments:

Paul Jacobs, Ursula Oppens - Piano

1948 The Red Pony Suite 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Score for the John Steinbeck film

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. JoAnn Fallettas

1948 The Red Pony Suite 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra cond, Leonard Slatkin
1949 The Heiress 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Soundtrack. Won an Oscar

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra cond, Leonard Slatkin

1947-1950 Clarinet Concerto 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Commisioned by Benny Goodman

Eduard Brunner - Clarinet
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Urs Schneider

1947-1950 Clarinet Concerto 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Commisioned by Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman - Clarinet
Columbia Symphony Orchestra cond. AAron Copland

1950 Old American Songs Set 1 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Marylin Horne - Soprano
English Chamber Orchestra cond. Carl Davis

1950 Old American Songs Set 1 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Thomas Hampson - Baritonr
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cond. Hugo Wolff

1950 Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Dawn Upshaw - Soprano
Elgin Symphony Orchestra cond. Robert Hanson
1950 Old American Songs Set 1 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
St. Charles Singers
Elgin Symphony Orchestra cond. Robert Hanson
1952 Old American Songs Set 2 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Marylin Horne - Soprano
English Chamber Orchestra cond. Carl Davis

1952 Old American Songs Set 2 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Sherrill Milnes - Soprano
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel
1952 Old American Songs Set 2 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Commen Man Review:
Thomas Hampson - Baritonr
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cond. Hugo Wolff

1952 Old American Songs Set 2 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
St. Charles Singers
Elgin Symphony Orchestra cond. Robert Hanson
1940 rev. 1952 John Henry 4.00 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel
1954 The Tender Land (Suite from the Opera) 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Based on James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with photographs by Edward Weston

Benjamin Pasterrnak - Piano
Elgin Symphony Orchestra cond. Robert Hanson

1954 The Promise of Living from The Tender Land 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel
1957 Orchestral Variations 4.50 out of 5 stars  LP
Aaron Copland - Orchestral Variations Review:
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Aaron Copland
1957 Orchestral Variations 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra cond. Michael Tilson Thomas
1969 Ceremonial Fanfare 4.50 out of 5 stars 2CD
Aaron Copland Review:
Commissioned by the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art in Celebration of its Centennial Year in 1969

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

1969 Ceremonial Fanfare 4.50 out of 5 stars CD
Review:
Cincinnatti Pops Orchestra cond. Erich Kunzel