Aaron Copland - Biography

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  • 1. Aaron Copland Biography Fanfare for the common Man

2. Aaron CoplandAmerican composer, educator, writer, and conductor.He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers".His early works , including the balletGrogh(1922), theDance Symphony(1925), theSymphonic Ode(1929), andPiano Variations(1930), quicklygained him a reputation in America as a daring modernist .However, he is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 40s in a deliberately more accessible style than his earlier pieces, these works include the balletsAppalachian Spring, Billy the Kidd, Rodeoand his orchestral works, Fanfare for the Common Man, Salon Mexico,and A Lincoln Portrait for speaker and orchestra. The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his works are archetypical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit.He wrote music in different styles at different periods of his life. In addition to hisballets and orchestral works,he produced music in many other genres includingchamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores. 3.

  • Copland was also active as a critic, mentor, advocate, concert organizerand public lecturer throughout the United States. He played a decisive role in the growth of classical music in the Americas in the 20th century.
  • He was a Lecturer on contemporary music at New School for Social Research, (1927-1937) and at Harvard University (1935 & 1944), assistant director of Berkshire Music Center (1940), Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University (1951-1952).
  • Coplands eight film scores(19391961), composed for two documentaries and six feature films, set new standards for American cinema in their subtle underscoring and refined dramatic sensibility.
  • In addition, he tried to educate the public musicallyby publishing severalbooks, including one essay on his own biography.
      • What to Listen for in Music(1939).
      • Our New Music (1941).
      • Music and Imagination (1952).
      • Copland on Music (1960).
      • The New Music 1900-1960 (1968).
      • Copland: 1900 through 1942 (1984).

4. Musical Education Studied music (piano) privately under LeopoldWolfsohn,Victor Wittgenstein and Clarence Adler. He studied composition with RubinGoldmark(1917-1921),Then he studied in France atThe American Conservatory in Fontainbleau(1921) withAntoninVidal (composition) and Albert Wolff (conducting) and after that he studied in Paris, (1921-1924) with Nadia Boulanger (composition) and RicardoVies(piano). Awards Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1925 and 1926) Pulitzer Prize in Music (1945), for Appalachian Spring New York Music Critics Circle Award (1945), for Appalachian SpringNew York Music Critics Circle Award (1946), for Third Symphony Academy Award for musical score, Oscar for The Heiress (1950) Gold medal from American Academy of Arts and Letters (1956) Edward MacDowell Medal, (1961) Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964) National Medal of the Arts, (1986) Congressional Gold Medal (1986). Appalachian Spring Variations on a Shaker Hymn 5. Aaron Copland Composition Teachers Rubin Goldmark Nadia Boulanger 6. Copland in his own words: "To a composer, music is a kind of language, behind the written score, even behind the various sounds they make when played, is a language of the emotions. The composer has it in his power to make music speak of many things: tender, harsh and lively, consoling and challenging things. Most people seem to resent the controversial in music; they don't want their listening habits disturbed. They use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled for the stress of daily living. But serious music was never meant to be used as a soporific. Contemporary music, especially, is created to wake you up, not put you to sleep. It is meant to stir and excite you, to move you, it may even exhaust you. But isn't that the kind of stimulation you go to the theater for or read a book for? Why make an exception for music?. Music can only be really alive when there are listeners who are really alive. To listen intently, to listen consciously, to listen with one's whole intelligence is the least we can do in the furtherance of an art that is one of the glories of mankind. 7.

  • Copland most famous works:
        • Opera
        • The Tender Land
        • Ballets
        • Billy the Kid (1938)
        • Rodeo (1942)
        • Appalachian Spring(1944).
        • Orchestral works:
        • Symphonic Ode (1929 & 1955)
        • Suite: Billy the Kid (1938)
        • El Salon Mxico(1936)
        • Quiet City (1939)
        • A Lincoln Portrait for speaker and orchestra (1942)
        • Fanfare for the Common Man(1942)
        • Suite, Rodeo (1943)
        • Suite, Appalachian Spring (1945);
        • Music for Movies
        • The Heiress (1949) (Hollywood Oscar).

8. George Whitefield Chadwick(1854-1931)Charles Ives(1874-1954)Charles Tomlinson Griffes(1884-1920) George Gershwin(1898-1937) Roy Harris(1898-1979) Duke Ellington(1899-1974)Randall Thompson(1899-1984) Aaron Copland(1900-1990) Samuel Barber(1910-1981) Leonard Bernstein(1918-1990) Contemporary American Classical Composers Appalachian Spring The Revivalist and his Flock 9. BiographyCoplands parents were immigrants from small towns in Lithuania.His father, Harris, reached New York via Glasgow and Manchester while still in his teens, adopting an Anglicized version of the family surname, Kaplan. His mother, SarahMittenthal,arrived in the USA as a young girl and grew up in the American Midwest and Texas before settling in New York in 1881. After their marriage, the Coplands lived above their successful Brooklyn department store; Aaron later credited his ability in business to his experience helping to run the store.The youngest of five children, he was especially close tohis sisterLaurine,who taught him the fundamentals of piano playing.and also introduced him to ragtime and opera. At about the age of seven, he began to make up tunes at the piano , and by the age of 12 was notating short pieces. He received his first formal piano lessons (19131917) from LeopoldWolfsohn , who assigned him pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. 10. In 1917 Copland began theory and composition lessons with RubinGoldmarkandrather than pursuing a university degree after his graduation from Boys High School in 1918, he continued his studies withGoldmarkuntil 1921. He also studied the piano with Victor Wittgenstein (19171919) and Clarence Adler (19191921). Copland spent the summer of 1921 at the American Conservatory Fontainebleau , where his teachers included PaulAntoninVidal (composition) and Albert Wolff (conducting). He pursued further study in Paris (19211924) with RicardoVies(piano) and Nadia Boulanger (composition) . Nadia Boulanger was by far his most important teacher,among her many attributes, Copland especially valued her thorough grasp of music literature, her sensitivity to clarity, elegance and formal continuity and her confidence in her young American students. During his years in Paris, Copland attended classes, museums, plays, ballets and concerts In addition, he travelled to England, Belgium, Italy, Austria and Germany, all the while meeting composers, examining scores and hearing new music. 11. He responded especially strongly to the music of Stravinsky , the hero of his student days, and Milhaud, whose assimilation of French, Jewish and American traits he particularly esteemed. He also developed an admiration for the music ofFaurand Mahler, considering the contrapuntal textures of both composers progressive. Under Boulangers tutelage, Copland produced his first orchestral score, theBallet Grohg , which he completed upon his return to the USA. Even before he returned home, however, Boulanger arranged a major American premire for another Copland work: an Organ Concerto to be performed by both the New York Symphonic Orchestra under Walter Damrosch and the Boston Symphonic Orchestra under Sergey Koussevitzky, with herself as soloist. The resultantOrgan Symphony (1924)initiated an important collaboration between Copland and Koussevitzky, who was to perform 12 Copland works, including several that he personally commissioned and introduced.In 1940, Koussevitzky appointedCopland assistant director of the Berkshire Music Center,where he taught