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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Work: El salón México

Browse 26-50 of 55 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Chopin, Mozart, Turina, Et Al / Andree Juliette Brun
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3268 Release Date: 06/21/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Claude Debussy,  Aaron Copland,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Andree Juliette Brun
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  • 27.
    Touches Of Bernstein - The Complete Published Piano Music
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2702 Release Date: 01/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Thomas Lanners
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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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  ... 
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  • 31.
    Copland: Rarities And Masterpieces / Steven Richman, Harmonie Ensemble New York
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9145 Release Date: 04/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Diane Walsh,  Lawrence Dutton,  Eugene Drucker
    Conductor:  Steven Richman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    Leonard Bernstein - A Total Embrace - The Conductor
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 90578 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Samuel Barber,  Manuel de Falla,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  David Evitts,  Patricia Wells,  Alan Titus,  Michael Devlin  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic members,  New York Philharmonic,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Latin Album / Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63717 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camargo Mozart Guarnieri,  Alberto Ginastera,  Traditional,  Dámaso Pérez Prado  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Carrillo,  Pablo Héctor Gama,  Michael Monaghan,  Tamara Smirnova
    Conductor:  Keith Lockhart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Mariachi Cobre,  Inca Son
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  • 35.
    Copland - Super Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89274 Release Date: 08/08/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Henry Fonda
    Conductor:  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 36.
    Piano Solos Of Latin America / Estela Olevsky
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2202 Release Date: 04/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Carlos Chavez,  Robert Stern,  Ernesto Nazareth  ... 
    Performer:  Estela Olevsky
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    The Begian Years Vol 14 / University Of Illinois Symphonic Band
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 3086 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ingolf Dahl,  Fisher Tull,  Claude Debussy,  Loris Chobanian  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Begian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Illinois Symphonic Band
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  • 39.
    Copland: El Salon Mexico, Rodeo, Etc / Ormandy, Mata, Et Al
    Label: Rca Red Seal Hp   Catalog: 63467A Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Eduardo Mata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    Bernstein - Reaching For The Note
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459552 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Leonard Bernstein,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Klaus König,  June Anderson,  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Sarah Walker  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Ion Marin,  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic members,  Orchestre de Paris members,  London Symphony Orchestra members  ... 
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  • 42.
    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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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    Copland: Fanfare For The Common Man, Etc / Mehta, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 448261 Release Date: 04/09/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Gregory Peck
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Carl Davis,  Elgar Howarth,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 45.
    Basic 100 Vol 51 - Copland: Appalachian Spring, Etc
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68020 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Aaron Copland,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 46.
    100 Fiedler Favorites
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 62698 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Stevie Wonder,  George Cory,  Jerry Herman  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Litwin,  Earl Wild,  Pasquale Cardillo,  Toni Noichl  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $50.99
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  • 47.
    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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  • 48.
    Bernstein, Copland, Et Al / Corporon, Cincinnati Wo
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11048 Release Date: 05/17/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Schuman,  Herbert Owen Reed,  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein
    Conductor:  Eugene Migliaro Corporon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati College-Conservatory Wind Symphony
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    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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