Aaron Copland

~ Person


Aaron Copland (/ˌærən ˈkoʊplənd/; 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. Among them, 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
1976 Barber: Adagio for Strings / Ives: Symphony no. 3 / Copland: Quiet City / Cowell: Hymn and Fuguing Tune no. 10 / Creston: A Rumor Barber, Ives, Copland, Cowell, Creston; Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner 3
1981 Billy The Kid / Rodeo Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
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 (Pacific Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Keith Clark) Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber 1
1986 Symphony No. 3 / Quiet City Aaron Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 1
1986 Symphony No. 3 / Danzón Cubano / El Salon Mexico (Dallas Symphony Orchestra cond. Eduardo Mata) Aaron Copland 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
1988 CBS Great Performances, Volume 39: Appalachian Spring Suite / Fanfare for the Common Man / El Salón México / Danzón Cubano Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein 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 (Suite) / Short Symphony (No. 2) / Quiet City / Three Latin American Sketches (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) Aaron Copland 1
1989 Clarinet Concerto, Etc. (New York Chamber Symphony feat. conductor: Gerard Schwartz) Aaron Copland 1
1990 Copland: Appalachian Spring; Rodeo; Billy the Kid; Fanfare for the Common Man (Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), conductor: Stephen Gunzenhauser) Aaron Copland 2
1990 Orchestral Works Aaron Copland; English Symphony Orchestra, William Boughton 1
1991 Suite from "The Tender Land"; 3 Latin-American Sketches; Suite from "The Red Pony" Aaron Copland 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 (The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra feat. conductor: Hugh Wolff) Aaron Copland 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 Fanfare for the Common Man Aaron Copland 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 Aaron Copland 1
1993 Copland: Billy the Kid, Rodeo / Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite Copland, Grofé; Morton Gould and His Orchestra 3
1993 Fanfare for the Common Man / Billy The Kid / El Salón México / Hoe-Down From 'Rodeo' / Appalachian Spring (The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra feat. conductor: Philip Ellis) Aaron Copland 2
1994 Music for Films Aaron Copland; Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
1994 Billy the Kid / Rodeo Aaron Copland 1
1994 The Young Pioneers: The Complete Music for Solo Piano Aaron Copland; Leo Smit 1
1994 Appalachian Spring / Billy the Kid / Rodeo Aaron Copland 1
1994 Grohg; Hear ye! Hear ye!; Prelude Aaron Copland, Oliver Knussen, The Cleveland Orchestra & London Sinfonietta 1
1994 Long Time Ago (The Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra feat. conductor: Hugh Wolff, soprano: Dawn Upshaw, baritone: Thomas Hampson) Aaron Copland 1
1994 Orchestral Works Aaron Copland 2
1994 Rodeo; Billy the Kid - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman cond. Aaron Copland 1
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
1997 Symphony No. 3 / Symphony for Organ and Orchestra Copland; New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, E. Power Biggs 1
1997 The Music of America Copland; Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel 1
1998 Appalachian Spring / Billy the Kid / Fanfare for the Common Man Aaron Copland; Eos Orchestra, Jonathan Sheffer 2
1999 Appalachian Spring / Billy the Kid / Rodeo / El Salón México Aaron Copland 1
1999 Fanfare for the Common Man: The Music of Aaron Copland Aaron Copland 1
2000 Fanfare for the Common Man / Appalachian Spring / Symphony no. 3 Aaron Copland; Minnesota Orchestra, Eiji Oue 1
2000 BBC Music, Volume 9, Number 2: Billy the Kid, etc. Aaron Copland; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin 1
2000 Fanfare for the Common Man / On Aaron Copland, the Man and His Music Aaron Copland; Michael Tilson Thomas 1
2002 Symphony no. 3 / Billy the Kid (Suite) Aaron Copland; New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd 1
2002 Appalachian Spring (Ballet Suite) / Clarinet Concerto Aaron Copland; Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Paul Gambill 1

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