November 14, 1900 - December 2, 1990

Aaron Copland

Copland's piece "Appalachian Spring" grasps the concept of a perfect America. It shows the endless green fields flowing across the land, the unharmed oaks towering across the valleys, and the uncharted mountaintops observing from above. In another sense it displays the endless freedom and hope spread everywhere across the country, in the slums, in the orphanages and shelters, and even for those in the middle class striving to enjoy a new life.

Aaron Copland reminds me of modern day artist Diddy (formerly known as Puff Daddy and P. Diddy) in a sense that the are both entrepreneurs in their line of work. Similar to how Copland brought new concepts such as Mexican Folklore to the world of composing, Diddy brought the concept of Remix to the world of hip-hop. Now many other artist use their ideas to improve their music and/or create new tracks.

My visual shows the stages of Copland's life. The first picture shoes him as a child whose only connection to music was his love for it. The second picture shows Copland in his composing prime. At this time he had already skyrocketed to the top of American and European music. The last picture shows aging Copland after his years of both composing and conducting were finished.



After being taught by his sister, Copland began to play the piano at a very young age. At the age of 16, Copeland moved to Manhattan where well-respected music teacher Rubin Goldmark taught him the fundamentals of counterpoint and composition. While living in Manhattan, he entertained himself by viewing contemporary classical performances held by The New York Symphony and The Brooklyn academy of Music. After observing many performances, Copeland found he enjoyed European Classical Music more than any other genre. To pursue this interest, Copland moved to Fountainebleau, France, in order to attend Summer School of Music for American Students. In France Copland sold his first composition to the largest music producer in France, Durand and Sons.

After meeting with Durand and Sons, Copland met famous composer Serge Koussevitsky. The composer asked Copland to write a piece for The Boston Symphony Orchestra. Copland's response was also his first professional musical production, “Symphony for Organ and Orchestra”(1925). He soon after released “Music for the Theater” (1925) and “Piano Concerto” (1926). Both compositions connect heavily to the popular jazz music of the time. In the late 20s, Copland, along with friend Roger Sessions, began the Copland-Sessions concerts, dedicated to presenting the works of young composers. A few years later, Copland released Yaddo Festival of American Music (1932). This was the centerpiece of his efforts to make American Classical music more popular. He soon later changed his focus to Mexican Folk Music. His release of “El Salón México” (1935) presented a new sound to American listeners. After this release, Copland became one of the most popular composers in the United States. In the Late 30s to Early 40s Copland began his work in ballets. His most popular productions from this era were his work in "Of Mice and Men" (1939) and "Appalachian Spring" (1944). After his ballet work, Copland began conducting. He conducted his final symphony in 1983 and passed away in 1990.