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Aaron Copland was one of the most prominent figures in music in the twentieth century. Aaron Copland’s Biography underscores his childhood and life incidents, which made him the great musician he was.

Quick Facts

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Famous as
Composer, teacher, writer
Nationality
Born on
14 November 1900 AD
Birthday
Century
Died At Age
69
Sun Sign
Scorpio    Scorpio Men
Born in
Brooklyn
Died on
01 January 1970 AD
place of death
Sleepy Hollow
father
Harris Morris Copland
mother
Sarah Mittenthal Copland
siblings
Ralph, Laurine, more
Married
No
education
The Fontainebleau Schools
awards:
Guggenheim Fellowship
Pulitzer Prize
Aaron Copland
Image Credit https://fanart.tv/artist/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09/copland-aaron/

Aaron Copland was one of the most appreciated American classical composers of the twentieth century. He innovatively blended popular forms of American music such as jazz and folk into his compositions to create exceptional pieces. Copland had contributed a lot to the music industry — both as a composer and as a speaker, who made the Americans aware about the importance of music. Through his compositions, polemics, promotions and plain hard work, Copland established American concert music. He had a distinct American style of composition and was often referred to as the “Dean of American Composers”. Incorporating elements of jazz and serial techniques, Copland wrote ballets, orchestral music, chamber music, vocal works, operas and film scores. This talented musician was a boon to the American music industry as he travelled to elevate the status of American music abroad. His commitment to music and the country made him one of the most prominent and remembered composers — not only a good but also a great composer indeed.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Coming from a Lithuanian Jewish descent, Aaron Copland was the son of Harris Morris and Sarah Mittenthal Copland.
  • Like his mother and two siblings, young Copland too was interested in music.
  • It was at the age of eleven that Copland devised his first notated melody. Following this, he took music lessons under Leopold Wolfsohn, who taught him the standard classical fare.
  • A concert by composer-pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski impressed Copland so much that he decided to become a composer.
Career
  • Copland took music lessons in harmony, theory, and composition from Rubin Goldmark, a noted teacher and composer of American music before moving to Paris to gratify his interest in European music.
  • He studied at the Fontainebleau School of Music with noted pianist and pedagogue Isidor Philipp and with Paul Vidal.
  • He then took lessons under Nadia Boulanger, which lasted for three years. Copland’s years in Paris were formative and casted a significant mark on his musical career.
  • It was during his stay in Paris that Copland came up with musical critiques, the first on Gabriel Faur�, which helped spread his fame and stature in the music community.
  • Thereafter, Copland returned to US to begin his career as a full-fledged composer.
  • His meeting with Alfred Stieglitz was an influential one, as Copland was keen on spreading the idea of American democracy through music.
  • He formed a group, called Commando Unit which had five members. Copland played a key role in the group and thus earned the title of “Dean of America Music”.
  • During the Great Depression, Copland composed musical pieces for young children, in accordance with the first goal of American Gebrauchsmusik.
  • He travelled to Europe, Africa, and Mexico, and began composing the first of his signature works, “El Sal�n M�xico”, which he completed in 1936.
  • Three years later, he completed his first two Hollywood film scores, “Of Mice and Men” and “Our Town”, thus paving way for the 1940s decade, which was the most productive one of his life.
  • During this time, Copland released the two ballet scores, “Rodeo” and “Appalachian Spring” which were huge hits and brought him much fame.
  • Next, Copland released “Lincoln Portrait” and “Fanfare for the Common Man” which have become patriotic standards.
  • His piece, “Third Symphony” composed from 1944 to 1946, became the most popular American symphony of the 20th century.
  • Copland returned to Europe in 1949. He received the Fullbright scholarship to study in Rome the next year.
  • In 1950s and 1960s, Copland travelled extensively observing the avant-garde styles of Europe while experiencing the new school of Soviet music.
  • During his life, Copland casted a major influence on the compositional style of an entire generation of American composers.
  • Post 1960, Copland turned to conducting instead of composing, as he found himself devoid of ideas.
  • A frequent guest conductor of orchestras in the US and the UK, he made a series of recordings of his music, primarily for Columbia Records.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1964, Aaron Copland received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson.
  • In 1970, Copland was honored with the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit.
  • Copland is also the recipient of the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in composition for “Appalachian Spring”. The songs composed by him for the movies, “Of Mice and Men” (1939), “Our Town” (1940), and “The North Star” (1943) received Academy Award nominations, while “The Heiress” won Best Music in 1950.
  • Copland was awarded Yale University's Sanford Medal.
  • Copland was the honorary member of the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in 1961 and was awarded the fraternity's Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award in 1970.
  • Copland was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 1986.
  • The United States Congress awarded Copland with a special Congressional Gold Medal in 1987.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Copland’s health started declining in the 1980s. He passed away on December 2, 1990, due to Alzheimer's disease and respiratory failure.

AARON COPLAND TIMELINE

1900:

 Born in Brooklyn, N.Y on 14 November   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1917:

 Studied harmony, counterpoint, and compositional forms with Karl Goldmark   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1918:

 Graduated from Boy's High School   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1920:

 Went to Paris and studied with Nadia Boulanger   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1922-1925:

 Wrote his first large work, Grohg, a ballet influenced by French textures and Stravinsky   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1924:

 Wrote Organ Symphony   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1925:

 Wrote music for the "Theatre" suite   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1926:

 Piano Concerto is written   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1927-1937:

 Taught at New School for Social Research   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1928:

 Wrote first significant chamber work, "Vitebsk"   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1928-1931:

 A series of new music performances in New York with composer Roger Sessions   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1930:

 Wrote the Dance Symphony and Piano Variations   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1933-1944:

 Taught at Harvard   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1934:

 Wrote the ballet Hear ye! Hear ye!   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1936:

 An opera for children, The Second Hurricane, and the famed El Salón México are written   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1938:

 Wrote the ballet Billy the Kid and An Outdoor Overture   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1939:

 Film Score for Of Mice and Men is written.   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1941:

 Wrote his Piano Sonata and Quiet City   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1942:

 Wrote the ballet Rodeo and The Lincoln Portrait   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1943:

 Fanfare for the Common Man is published for brass and percussion   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1943:

 Violin Sonata was published   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1944:

 Wrote Appalachian Spring   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1945:

 Won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Critics Circle Award.   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1946:

 The Third Symphony is composed   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1948:

 Wrote the Clarinet Concerto for virtuoso Benny Goodman, wrote film score to The Red Pony   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1950:

 Won an Academy Award   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1951:

 Became the first composer to be honored with the Norton Professor of Poetics at Harvard   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1954:

 Wrote a large-scale opera, The Tender Land   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1956:

 Won the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1960:

 Wrote the Nonet for Stings   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1962:

 Wrote Connontations for the New York Philharmonic's 125th anniversary   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1964:

 Music for a Great City was finished   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1967:

 Inscape was written   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1971:

 Published Duo for Flute and Piano   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1972:

 Three Latin American Sketches were composed   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1984:

 First volume of memoirs were written   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1986:

 Won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the National Medal of Arts   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1989:

 Wrote second volume of memoirs   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

1990:

 Died on December 2 in North Tarrytown, N.Y.; his ashes were scattered at Tanglewood   EDITSomething Wrong? Help Us Clean It Up. Tell Us About It.

 
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Pictures of Aaron Copland

Quotes By Aaron Copland

Books by Aaron Copland

    Music & Imagination: the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures 1951-1952

    by Aaron Copland

    Old American Songs Complete Low Voice (Bk/CD) with Piano Accompaniments

    by Aaron Copland

    Aaron Copland: What To Listen For In Music

    by Aaron Copland

Books About Aaron Copland

    Aaron Copland

    by Mike Venezia

    The Dickinson Songs of Aaron Copland (Cms Sourcebooks in American Music)

    by Larry Starr,Michael J. Budds

    Aaron Copland: The Life & Work of an Uncommon Man

    by Howard Pollack

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