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Summary Article: Copland, Aaron
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US composer. His early works, such as his piano concerto (1926), were in the jazz style but he gradually developed a gentler style with a regional flavour drawn from American folk music. Among his works are the ballet scores Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944; based on a poem by Hart Crane). Among his orchestral works is Inscape (1967).

Born in New York, Copland studied in France with Nadia Boulanger, and taught from 1940 at the Berkshire Music Center, now the Tanglewood Music Center, near Lenox, Massachusetts. He took avant-garde European styles and gave them a distinctive American feel. His eight film scores, including The Heiress (1949), set new standards for Hollywood.

He began to learn the piano at the age of 13 and studied theory with Rubin Goldmark. He later went to France and became a pupil of Boulanger at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. In 1924 a Guggenheim scholarship enabled him to spend two more years in Europe. He was represented for the first time at an International Society for Contemporary Music festival in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1927, and won a prize in American music with A Dance Symphony in 1930. He was first influenced by Igor Stravinsky and Boulanger but later used local American styles, notably in the ballets Billy the Kid and Appalachian Spring. His chamber music is more inward looking and complex in character. He did much to promote American music, and also wrote and lectured extensively. He also toured widely as a conductor of his own and other American music.

WorksOperaThe Tender Land (1952–54); school opera The Second Hurricane.

BalletBilly the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), Appalachian Spring (1944).

FilmOf Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940), The Red Pony (1948), The Heiress (1949).

Orchestral three symphonies (1925, 1933, 1946), Music for the Theatre, Symphonic Ode, A Dance Symphony (1925), Statements, El Salón México (1936), Music for the Radio, An Outdoor Overture, Quiet City (1939), Letter from Home, Danzón Cubano; Lincoln Portrait for orator and orchestra (1942), piano concerto (1926), clarinet concerto (1948), Connotations for orchestra (1962), Inscape (1967), Three Latin American Sketches (1972).

VocalThe House on the Hill and An Immorality for female chorus.

Chamber two pieces for string quartet; sextet for clarinet, strings, and piano; piano quartet; nonet; violin and piano sonata; piano sonata, piano pieces.


Copland, Aaron

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