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Aaron Copland

Biography

Born: 1900   Died: 1990   Country: USA   Period: 20th Century
Few figures in American music loom as large as Aaron Copland. As one of the first wave of literary and musical expatriates in Paris during the 1920s, Copland returned to the United States with the means to assume, for the next half century, a central role in American music as composer, promoter, and educator. Copland's sheer popularity and iconic status are such that his music has transcended the concert hall and entered the popular Read more consciousness; it both accompanies solemn and joyous celebrations the world over (Fanfare for the Common Man) and punctuates the familiar words "Beef: It's What's for Dinner!" (Rodeo) for millions of television viewers.

Copland was the youngest of five children born to Harris and Sarah Copland, Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who owned a department store in Brooklyn. He did not take formal piano lessons until he was 13, by which time he had also begun writing small pieces. Instead of attending college, Copland studied theory and composition with Rubin Goldmark and piano with Victor Wittgenstein and Clarence Adler, and attended as many concerts, operas, and ballets as possible. In 1921, he went to Fontainebleau, France, taking conducting and composition classes at the American Conservatory. He went on to study in Paris with Ricardo Viñes and Nadia Boulanger and spent the next three years soaking up all the European culture, both new and old, that he could. He learned to admire not only composers like Stravinsky, Milhaud, Fauré, and Mahler, but others such as author André Gide. Boulanger's performance of Copland's 1924 Organ Symphony with Koussevitzky was the beginning of a friendship between the conductor and composer that led to Copland teaching at the Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood) from 1940 until 1965.

After his return to America, Copland drifted toward an incisive, austere style that captured something of the sobriety of Depression-torn America. The most representative work of this period -- the Piano Variations (1930) -- remains one of the composer's seminal efforts. He tried to avoid taking a university position, instead writing for journals and newspapers, organizing concerts, and taking on administrative duties for composers' organizations, trying to promote American music. By the mid-1930s, taking the direct engagement of and communication with audiences as one of his central tenets, Copland's compositions developed (in parallel with other composers like Virgil Thomson and Roy Harris) an "American" style marked by folk influences, a new melodic and harmonic simplicity, and an appealing directness free from intellectual pretension. This is nowhere more in evidence than in Copland's ballets of this period, and it finally earned him the respect of the general public. While Copland gradually became less prolific from the mid-1950s on, he continued to experiment and explore "fresh" means of musical expression, including a highly individual adoption of 12-tone principles in works like the Piano Fantasy and Connotations for orchestra. Still, the fundamentally lyrical nature of Copland's language remained intact and occasionally emerged -- with an often surprising retrospective air -- in works like the Duo for flute and piano (1971). He continued to teach and write and received numerous awards both in America and abroad. In 1958, he began conducting orchestras around the world, performing works by 80 other composers as well as his own over the next 20 years. By the mid-'70s, Copland had for all intents and purposes ceased composing. One of the last of his creative accomplishments was the completion of his two-volume autobiography (with musicologist Vivian Perlis), an essential document in understanding the growth of American music in the twentieth century. Read less
American Classics - Copland: Works For Violin And Piano
Release Date: 07/16/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559102   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: The Tender Land Suite, Piano Concerto, Etc / Pasternack, Hanson
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559297   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: Red Pony Suite, Prairie Journal / Falletta,  Buffalo Philharmonic
Release Date: 10/31/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559240   Number of Discs: 1
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Landscapes - Torke, Ticheli, Copland / Popiel, University Of Kansas Wind Ensemble
Release Date: 03/26/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573104   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: Rodeo, Dance Panels... / Slatkin, Detroit
Release Date: 06/25/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559758   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Clarinet

Browse 1-25 of 34 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $342.99
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  • 2.
    In Rhythm / Sebastian Manz, Martin Klett
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553271 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Alec Templeton,  Aaron Copland,  Steve Reich  ... 
    Performer:  Sebastian Manz,  Martin Klett
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  • 3.
    Mozart, Copland, Kats-Chernin: Works for Clarinet & Orchestra / Collins
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10756 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Aaron Copland,  Elena Kats-Chernin
    Performer:  Michael Collins
    Conductor:  Michael Collins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Imaginary Landscapes - Sounds of America [20-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 44290 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Scott Joplin,  Ferde Grofé,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Rifkin,  Ralph Grierson,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Barry Tuckwell  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Foley,  George Sponhaltz,  Felix Slatkin,  Ferde Grofé  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Great American Main Street Band,  Southland Stingers,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Dances To A Black Pipe / Martin Frost
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1863 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Aaron Copland,  Goran Fröst,  Anders Hillborg  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Fröst
    Conductor:  Richard Tognetti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra
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  • 6.
    American Classics - Bernstein, Copland, Et Al / Kam, Bühl
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 884822 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Artie Shaw,  George Gershwin,  Aaron Copland,  Morton Gould  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Kam
    Conductor:  Gregor Bühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Sarah Williamson Plays Copland & Finzi
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 244 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Gerald Finzi
    Performer:  Sarah Williamson
    Conductor:  David Curtis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Swan
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  • 8.
    Aldridge, Copland: Clarinet Concertos / David Singer
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559667 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Robert Aldridge
    Performer:  David Singer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  A Far Cry Orchestra,  Shanghai String Quartet
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  • 9.
    The Music Of Copland & McKinley / Ellis, Stoltzman, Trevor, Slovak RSO
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5812 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  William Thomas McKinley
    Performer:  Kim Ellis,  Richard Stoltzman
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Copland: Music For The Theatre, Quiet City, Music For Movies, Clarinet Concerto / Davies, Blount, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 2522 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  William Blount
    Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 11.
    American Classics - Copland: Clarinet Concerto, Quiet City, Etc / Shifrin, Schwartz, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 34439 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  David Shifrin,  Mark Hill,  Neil Balm
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony
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  • 12.
    Copland, Corigliano: Clarinet Concertos, Etc / Stoltzman
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7762 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman
    Conductor:  Lawrence Leighton Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Collected Recordings
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 4696734 Release Date: 06/09/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 14.
    Songs Without Words - A Ken Burns Film
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 714370 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Copland: Clarinet Concerto, Quiet City, Etc / Shifrin, Schwartz, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49095 Release Date: 04/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  David Shifrin,  Mark Hill,  Neil Balm
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony
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  • 16.
    Ginastera, Copland, Yannatos / Yannatos, Harvard-radcliffe
    Label: Afka   Catalog: 509 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Aaron Copland,  James Yannatos
    Performer:  Gillian Benet,  David Schneider
    Conductor:  James Yannatos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra
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  • 17.
    James Levine - Documents Of The Munich Years
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 509 Release Date: 08/01/2005   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives,  John Harbison  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  James Morris,  Linda Watson,  Birgitta Svendén  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Bamberg Symphony Chorus
    CD: $78.99
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  • 18.
    James Levine - Documents Of The Munich Years Vol 4 - Weber
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 504 Release Date: 12/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Aaron Copland,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Carl Maria von Weber
    Performer:  Martin Spangenberg
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Leonard Bernstein Collectors Edition - The Americans
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000218402 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Roy Harris,  George Gershwin,  Lukas Foss,  Ned Rorem  ... 
    Performer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Sheri Greenawald,  Gidon Kremer,  Stanley Drucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    American Jazz Concertos / Russell, Jackson, Spring, Et Al
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 1019 Release Date: 05/06/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Oliver Lake,  Aaron Copland,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Robert Spring,  D.D. Jackson
    Conductor:  Timothy Russell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  World Saxophone Quartet,  ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Artist Portrait - Sharon Kam
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 7497082 Release Date: 03/31/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Krommer,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Kam
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  • 22.
    Copland: Appalachian Spring Suite, Quiet City, Clarinet Concerto
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559069 Release Date: 11/19/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Scott Moore,  Paula Engerer,  Laura Arden
    Conductor:  Paul Gambill
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Chamber Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Composers In New York - Copland, Schuman, Gould, Barber, Etc
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9848 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Gould,  Aaron Copland,  Samuel Barber,  William Schuman
    Performer:  Charles Niedich
    Conductor:  Yuli Turovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici de Montreal
    CD not available
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  • 24.
    Concertos Dedicated To Benny Goodman / Martin Fröst
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 893 Release Date: 08/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Paul Hindemith,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Martin Fröst
    Conductor:  Lan Shui
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 25.
    Homage To Benny Goodman / Meyer, Metzmacher, Bamberger So
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 5566522 Release Date: 07/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Gordon Hill Jenkins,  Edwin B. Edwards,  Niccolò Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer,  Sabine Meyer
    Conductor:  Ingo Metzmacher
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Big Band
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