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 Vińes 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

Work: Danzón Cubano

Browse 1-25 of 28 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Copland: Rodeo; Dance Panels; El Salon Mexico / Slatkin, Detroit Symphony [blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 37 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Copland: Rodeo, Dance Panels... / Slatkin, Detroit
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559758 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    Great American Showpieces
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 48952 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  George Gershwin,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Eduardo Mata
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  • 5.
    Leonard Bernstein - The Royal Edition Vol 27 - Copland, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47544 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez,  Ferde Grofé,  Camargo Mozart Guarnieri  ... 
    Performer:  John Corigliano Sr.,  Netania Davrath,  Carl Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 6.
    American Classics - Copland: Symphony No 3, Danzon Cubano, Dance Symphony / Batiz, Mata
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95221 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata,  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Orquesta Tipica De La Ciudad De Mexico,  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Label: Arion   Catalog: 903854 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Noël Lee,  Aaron Copland,  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  Christian Ivaldi,  Noel Lee
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  • 8.
    Stravinsky: Music For 4 Hands;  Debussy, Bolcom, Etc / Paul Jacobs, Aaron Copland, Oppens
    Label: Arbiter   Catalog: 155 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Aaron Copland,  William Bolcom
    Performer:  Ursula Oppens,  Paul Jacobs,  Aaron Copland
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  • 9.
    Tangazo - Music Of Latin America - Ginastera, Chavez
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436737 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alejandro Caturla,  Carlos Chavez,  Aaron Copland,  Alberto Ginastera  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Symphony
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  • 10.
    Latin American Classics - Music by Piazzolla, Caturla, Chavez
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4676032 Release Date: 07/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Astor Piazzolla,  Amadeo Roldán,  Alejandro Caturla  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Symphony
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  • 11.
    Copland: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Billy the Kid, Red Pony / Mata, Slatkin, Batiz
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 81498 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata,  Leonard Slatkin,  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Copland: Symphony No 3, Danzon Cubano / Mata, Dallas So
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31561 Release Date: 10/04/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Copland Greatest Hits
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000277802 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Antal Doráti,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Copland: Works For Piano Duo / Goldina, Loumbrozo
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 154 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Arianna Goldina,  Rémy Loumbrozo
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  • 15.
    Essential Aaron Copland - 12 Greatest Hits
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4752452 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Gregory Peck
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Antal Doráti,  Elgar Howarth,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta  ... 
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  • 16.
    Genova & Dimitrov - Piano Duo
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 240 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  George Gershwin,  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel Infante  ... 
    Performer:  Aglika Genova,  Liuben Dimitrov
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  • 17.
    From The New World / Arp, Southwest German Radio Orchestra
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93021 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Scott Joplin,  George Gershwin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Arp,  Caspar Richter,  Ernst Wedam,  Saul Schechtmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern
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  • 18.
    Copland: Music For Two Pianos
    Label: Etcetera Records   Catalog: 1223 Release Date: 03/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Marcela Roggeri,  Marcelo Bratke
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  • 19.
    Copland: Danzón Cubano, Billy The Kid, Etc / Mata, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 73653 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz,  Eduardo Mata,  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Copland: Music For Two Pianos / Nyaho-garcia Duo
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2405 Release Date: 12/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Susanna Garcia,  William Chapman Nyaho
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nyaho-Garcia Duo
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  • 21.
    Copland, Bartók, Rachamninoff, Bennet / Abbott & Williams
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3016 Release Date: 10/27/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Béla Bartók,  Manuel Infante  ... 
    Performer:  Peggy Abbott,  Patrice Williams
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  • 22.
    Bernstein Century - Latin American Fiesta
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60571 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlos Chavez,  Silvestre Revueltas,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Camargo Mozart Guarnieri  ... 
    Performer:  Netania Davrath,  Carl Stern
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 23.
    American Works For Two Pianos And Orchestra / Pierce, Jonas
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7002 Release Date: 07/31/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Gould,  Walter Piston,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Dorothy Jonas,  Joshua Pierce
    Conductor:  David Amos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Copland: Rodeo, Billy the Kid / Zinman, Baltimore
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440639 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Copland: Appalachian Spring, Billy The Kid, Etc / Dorati
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434301 Release Date: 11/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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