Copland, Aaron


Copland, Aaron

biographical name

/

Aaron Copland.—Courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

(born Nov. 14, 1900, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 2, 1990, North Tarrytown, N.Y.) U.S. composer. Born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, he studied composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. In his early works he experimented with jazz rhythms and then with an abstract style influenced by Neoclassicism. After the mid-1930s he was concerned with making music accessible to a wider audience and adopted notably American traits in his compositions. Famously public-spirited and generous, he came to be unofficially regarded as the U.S.'s national composer. He is best known for his three ballets based on American folk material: Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944, Pulitzer Prize). He also wrote film scores, orchestral works, and operas. In his later years Copland refined his treatment of Americana, making his references less overt, and he produced a number of works using the experimental technique of serialism. He continued to lecture and to conduct through the mid-1980s.

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