Aaron Copland

~ Person


Aaron Copland (/ˌærən ˈkplənd/; November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, in his later years he was often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers" and is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. Works in this vein include the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and Rodeo, his Fanfare for the Common Man and Third Symphony. 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. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works, he produced music in many other genres including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.

After some initial studies with composer Rubin Goldmark, Copland traveled to Paris, where he studied at first with Isidor Philipp and Paul Vidal, then with noted pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. He studied three years with Boulanger, whose eclectic approach to music inspired his own broad taste in that area. Determined upon his return to the U.S. to make his way as a full-time composer, Copland gave lecture-recitals, wrote works on commission and did some teaching and writing. He found composing orchestral music in the "modernist" style he had adapted abroad a financially contradictory approach, particularly in light of the Great Depression. He shifted in the mid-1930s to a more accessible musical style which mirrored the German idea of Gebrauchsmusik ("music for use"), music that could serve utilitarian and artistic purposes. During the Depression years, he traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, and Mexico, formed an important friendship with Mexican composer Carlos Chávez and began composing his signature works.

During the late 1940s, Copland felt a need to compose works of greater emotional substance than his utilitarian scores of the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was aware that Stravinsky, as well as many fellow composers, had begun to study Arnold Schoenberg's use of twelve-tone (serial) techniques. In his personal style, Copland began to make use of twelve-tone rows in several compositions. He incorporated serial techniques in some of his later works, including his Piano Quartet (1951), Piano Fantasy (1957), Connotations for orchestra (1961) and Inscape for orchestra (1967). From the 1960s onward, Copland's activities turned more from composing to conducting. He became a frequent guest conductor of orchestras in the U.S. and the UK and made a series of recordings of his music, primarily for Columbia Records.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1960 Appalachian Spring / The Tender Land - Suite Aaron Copland, Boston Symphony Orchestra 1
1974 Copland Conducts Copland: Appalachian Spring (Complete Ballet) Aaron Copland; Columbia Chamber Orchestra, Aaron Copland 1
1976 Barber: Adagio for Strings / Ives: Symphony no. 3 / Copland: Quiet City Barber, Ives, Copland; Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner 3
1979 Appalachian Spring / Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes Aaron Copland 1
1981 Billy The Kid / Rodeo Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
1982 CBS Great Performances, Volume 39: Appalachian Spring Suite / Fanfare for the Common Man / El Salón México / Danzón Cubano Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 2
1982 Fanfare for the Common Man / Rodeo / Appalachian Spring (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Louis Lane) Aaron Copland; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Louis Lane 1
1983 Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue / Barber: Adagio for Strings / Copland: Appalachian Spring George Gershwin, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland; Los Angeles Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 4
1983 Music of Barber and Copland Copland, Barber; Pacific Symphony, Keith Clark 2
1986 Symphony No. 3 / Quiet City Aaron Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
1986 Symphony no. 3 / Danzón Cubano / El Salon Mexico Copland; Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Mata 1
1987 Bernstein: Chichester Psalms / Copland: In the beginning and Three Motets / Barber: Agnus Dei Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber; Corydon Singers, Matthew Best 1
1987 Appalachian Spring / Rodeo / Billy the Kid / Fanfare for the Common Man Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 4 2
1987 Sextet / Piano Variations / Piano Quartet Aaron Copland; Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Gilbert Kalish 1
1988 Appalachian Spring Copland; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
1988 Corigliano: Clarinet Concerto / Copland: Clarinet Concerto / Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue, & Riffs Corigliano, Copland, Bernstein; London Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Richard Stoltzman 1
1989 Appalachian Spring / Short Symphony / 3 Latin American Sketches / Quiet City Aaron Copland; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra 1
1989 Appalachian Spring / Rodeo / Billy the Kid / Fanfare for the Common Man Copland; Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Gunzenhauser 2
1989 Clarinet Concerto / Music for the Theatre / Quiet City / Dance Panels Aaron Copland; New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, David Shifrin 1
1989 Husa / Copland / Vaughan Williams / Hindemith Husa, Copland, Vaughan Williams, Hindemith; Eastman Wind Ensemble, Donald Hunsberger 1
1989 Rhapsody in Blue / Appalachian Spring / Quiet City / Knoxville / Adagio Barber, Copland, Gershwin; City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox 1
1990 Orchestral Works Copland; English Symphony Orchestra, William Boughton 1
1990 Symphony no. 3 / Music for a Great City Copland; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
1991 Suite from "The Tender Land" / 3 Latin-American Sketches / Suite from "The Red Pony" Copland; The Phoenix Symphony, James Sedares 1
1991 El salón México / Appalachian Spring / Rodeo / Dance Symphony / Fanfare for the Common Man Copland; Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Antal Doráti 2
1991 The Copland Collection: Early Orchestral Works Aaron Copland 1
1991 Appalachian Spring (original chamber version) / Music for the Theatre / Latin American Sketches / Quiet City Copland; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Hugh Wolff 1
1991 El Salon Mexico / Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra / Music for the Theatre / Connotations for Orchestra Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, Stanley Drucker 2
1992 American Miniatures Barber, Copland, Thomson 1
1992 The Tender Land (Plymouth Music Series Orchestra and Chorus; Philip Brunelle, conductor) Aaron Copland 1
1992 An American Panorama Leonard Bernstein, Roy Harris, Aaron Copland; Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Mata 1
1992 Great American Landscapes Grofé, Thomson, Copland 1
1993 Gershwin, Copland, Schuller, Bloch Gershwin, Copland, Schuller, Bloch; Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Antal Doráti 1
1993 Copland: Clarinet Concerto / Bernstein: Sonata for Clarinet / Gershwin: Three Preludes Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin; Richard Stoltzman, London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas, Eric Stern 1
1993 An American in Prague: Aaron Copland conducts the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Aaron Copland 1
1993 Clarinet Concertos Mozart, Busoni, Copland; English Chamber Orchestra, David Zinman, Paul Meyer 1
1993 Composers Conduct: Appalachian Spring / The Tender Land: Suite / Fall River Legend Aaron Copland, Morton Gould 1
1993 Copland: Billy the Kid / Rodeo / Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite Copland, Grofé; Morton Gould and His Orchestra 2
1993 Fanfare For The Common Man / Billy The Kid Suite / El Salón México / Fanfare for the Common Man Copland; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philip Ellis 2
1993 Portraits of Freedom Aaron Copland, Roy Harris; Seattle Symphony and Chorale, Gerard Schwarz, James Earl Jones 1
1994 Music for Films Copland; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
1994 Rodeo / Billy the Kid / El salón México / Danzón Cubano Copland; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman 2
1994 The Young Pioneers: The Complete Music for Solo Piano Aaron Copland; Leo Smit 1
1994 Grohg / Hear ye! Hear ye! / Prelude Aaron Copland; Oliver Knussen, The Cleveland Orchestra, London Sinfonietta 1
1994 Long Time Ago Aaron Copland; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Hugh Wolff, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson 1
1996 Copland: The Modernist Copland; San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, Garrick Ohlsson 2
1996 Copland: Piano Music (Ramon Salvatore) Aaron Copland 1
1996 Dance Symphony / Short Symphony / Organ Symphony Copland; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
1996 Harris: Symphony no. 3 / Copland: Symphony no. 3 Roy Harris, Aaron Copland; Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Järvi 1
1996 Holidays Symphony (Dallas Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Donald Johanos)/ Dance Symphony (M.I.T. Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: David Epstein) Charles Ives, Aaron Copland 1

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