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
Korngold & Copland: Twentieth Century Duos / Bekker, Armstrong
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Navona  
Catalog: NV6046   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland 100 / Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra
Release Date: 08/15/2000   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 93   Number of Discs: 1
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Copland Piano Music - Romantic & Modern / Ramon Salvatore
Release Date: 10/07/1996   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 21   Number of Discs: 1
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The Music Of Copland & McKinley / Ellis, Stoltzman, Trevor, Slovak RSO
Release Date: 05/26/2009   Label: Navona  
Catalog: 5812   Number of Discs: 1
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Sarah Williamson Plays Copland & Finzi
Release Date: 12/14/2010   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 244   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: El salón México

Browse 1-25 of 42 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Copland: Orchestral Works / Bernstein, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 169 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 2.
    Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets / Wilson, BBC Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5164 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  John Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Copland: Billy the Kid, Rodeo, El Salon Mexico & An Outdoor Overture / Litton
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2164 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colorado Symphony Orchestra
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  • 4.
    American Intersections
    Label: Twopianists (Label)   Catalog: 1039220 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland,  Frederic Rzewski,  John Adams  ... 
    Performer:  Luis Magalhaes,  Nina Schumann
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  • 5.
    Rosario Mazzeo: Clarinetist, Inventor, Educator - Performances From The Chamber Music And Orchestral Repertoire
    Label: Boston Records   Catalog: 1078 Release Date: 03/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Ernst Levy,  Alan Hovhaness  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Veissi,  Joseph Stepansky,  Rosario Mazzeo,  William Vanden Burg  ... 
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  • 6.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Copland: Piano Works
    Label: Paladino Music   Catalog: 52 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Eugenie Russo
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Copland: Piano Concerto; El Salon Mexico; Appalachian Spring; Old American Songs
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350086 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Aaron Copland,  William [Baritone Vocals] Warfield
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Maurice Abravanel,  Antal Doráti,  Aaron Copland
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  • 10.
    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
    Blu-ray Audio: $19.99
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  • 11.
    American Masterpieces For Piano Duo
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1427 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dave Brubeck,  Leonard Bernstein,  Aaron Copland,  William Bolcom
    Performer:  Bradley Robinson,  Jennifer Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wang-Rodgers Piano Duo
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  • 12.
    Best Of Pops / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 3580 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Leroy Anderson,  Victor Young,  Meredith Willson  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    American Brass! / Crees, London Symphony Brass
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1209 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein,  Henry Cowell,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Crees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Brass
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  • 15.
    American Piano Music / Christopher Harding
    Label: Equilibrium   Catalog: 116 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Samuel Barber,  George Gershwin,  William Bolcom
    Performer:  Christopher Harding
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  • 16.
    Brass Americana - Bernstein, Etc / Crees, Lso Brass
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1209 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Cowell,  Samuel Barber,  Charles Ives,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Marriner
    Conductor:  Eric Crees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra Brass
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  • 17.
    Mystic Chords Of Memory / United States Navy Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 70162 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jerry Brubaker,  Robert Jäger,  Morton Gould,  César Franck  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Navy Band
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  • 18.
    Three Pianists / Cheng Chow Trio
    Label: Arioso   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Darius Milhaud,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Alvin Chow,  Angela Cheng,  Alan Chow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cheng Chow Trio
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  • 19.
    Two Pianists - Brahms, Lutoslawski , Arensky, Copland
    Label: Twopianists (Label)   Catalog: 1039022 Release Date: 08/31/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Anton Arensky,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Luis Magalhaes,  Nina Schumann
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  • 20.
    Southern Harmony / Mikkelson, Ohio State University Wind Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572342 Release Date: 12/15/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morten Lauridsen,  Donald Grantham,  John Stevens,  Dmitri Kabalevsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Russel C. Mikkelson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ohio State University Wind Symphony
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  • 21.
    Leonard Bernstein - The Royal Edition Vol 27 - Copland, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47544 Release Date: 10/29/2009   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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  • 22.
    Copland: Ballet Suites, Fanfare / Ellis, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28410 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Philip Ellis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Copland: Orchestral Music / Enrique Bátiz
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 63153 Release Date: 09/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 24.
    Gershwin: Piano Concerto;  Copland, Barber / Peter Jablonski
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 430542 Release Date: 06/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Aaron Copland,  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  Peter Jablonski
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Music From America - Busoni, Gershwin, Et Al
    Label: Nireo   Catalog: 6 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Moreau Gottschalk,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Edward MacDowell,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Francesco Caramiello
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