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
America - Copland, Reich, Cage, Feldman, Bernstein, Barber / Creed, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Hänssler Classic  
Catalog: 93306   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: Rodeo, Four Piano Blues, Variation / Alan Marks
Release Date: 05/07/1997   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5267   Number of Discs: 1
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Meditations For Spring - Copland, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Et Al
Release Date: 03/21/2000   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7049   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: Appalachian Spring, Etc / Boughton, English So
Release Date: 12/02/1992   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5246   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland: Four Piano Blues, Etc;  Gershwin / Mark Anderson
Release Date: 03/23/1999   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5585   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Clarinet

Browse 26-35 of 35 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 21591 Release Date: 01/26/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Karin Dornbusch
    Conductor:  Péter Csaba
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Vitae
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  • 28.
    Copland, Arnold: Clarinet Concertos / Gray, Newstone
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2212 Release Date: 03/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Malcolm Arnold,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Gary Gray
    Conductor:  Harry Newstone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Mozart, Busoni, Copland: Clarinet Concertos / Meyer, Zinman
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 75289 Release Date: 08/31/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Paul Meyer
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Copland: Clarinet Concerto; Bernstein, Gershwin / Stoltzman
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61790 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Leonard Bernstein,  Gordon Hill Jenkins,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman,  Andrew Shulman
    Conductor:  Eric Stern,  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Copland, Nielsen: Clarinet Concerti, Etc / Hilton, Bamert
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8618 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Janet Hilton
    Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 32.
    The Essential Clarinet / Richard Stoltzman
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61360 Release Date: 10/09/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Leonard Bernstein,  Igor Stravinsky,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Richard Stoltzman
    Conductor:  Lawrence Leighton Smith,  Richard Stoltzman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Woody Herman & His Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Copland: El Salón México, Clarinet Concerto, Etc / Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431672 Release Date: 09/12/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Stanley Drucker
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 34.
    The Copland Collection - 1936-1948
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46559 Release Date: 01/18/1991   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Benny Goodman,  Henry Fonda,  Michael Winfield,  William Lang
    Conductor:  Aaron Copland
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $32.49
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  • 35.
    Benny Goodman Collector's Edition
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42227 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Morton Gould,  Igor Stravinsky,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Benny Goodman,  Béla Bartók
    Conductor:  Morton Gould,  Igor Stravinsky,  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Jazz Band,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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