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Introduction To The Composer | Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland was born on November 14th, 1900, in Brooklyn, New York.

The son of prosperous Lithuanian/ Russian Jewish immigrants, Copland showed a keen interest in music from an early age.

At the age of 17, he began music composition lessons with Rubin Goldmark in New York, and by the age of 20 he travelled to Paris to train with the renowned musician Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied for 4 years.

Even considering his immigrant background, Aaron Copland came to be a leading figure in American music who strove to create a distinguishable American idiom by incorporating elements of jazz and folk music in his work.

Throughout his career, he produced a number of ballets based on American subjects, such as “Rodeo”, “Billy The Kid”, and “Appalachian Spring”, which included the Shaker hymn-tune, “Simple Gifts”.

Other specifically American works included, “Fanfare For The Common Man”, “Quiet City”, and “A Lincoln Portrait” which was based on the speeches of president Abraham Lincoln.

Additionally, Copland wrote music for film. Some of his best-known film scores were for the movies “The Heiress”, “Red Pony”, “Of Mice And Men”, and “Our Town”.

In the years between 1940 and 1965, Copland served as head of the composition faculty at the important summer school at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Massachusetts.

Aaron Copland died of complications from pneumonia in North Tarrytown, New York on December 2nd, 1990, at the age of 90.

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