Aaron Copland : American Composer

Topics: Aaron Copland, Classical music, Jazz Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: October 27, 2009
Through his compositions, teachings, philanthropy, and desire to create original and inspirational music that was uniquely American, Aaron Copland became one of the most decorated and respected composers of the twentieth century. Born November 14th 1900 to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, Copland played piano at a very young age. He took lessons in harmony and counterpoint with Goldmark, an old-fashioned teacher who was dedicated to Beethoven and Fux, and against whom Copland rebelled, becoming enamored with Scriabin, Debussy and Ives. By the age of sixteen he was studying composition and often attended musical symphonies where he was quickly drawn to the historical icons of classical music and left the United States to attend the Summer School of Music for American Students in France when he was only twenty years old. It was here in France that he sold his first composition and was introduced to several prominent composers of the time. One composer in particular, Serge Koussevitsky asked Copland to write a piece for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and in turn launched his professional career in American music. Copland believed that coupled with the influences and ideas of jazz he could create and develop a symphonic sound that was distinctly American. In the late 1920s Copland’s attention turned to popular music of other countries. By the late 1930’s Copland had become one of the most popular composers in the country, as well as a leader of the community of American classical musicians. He had moved away from his interest in jazz and began to concern himself with expanding the audience for American classical music. He worked toward this goal by being an active member of many organizations, including both the American Composers’ Alliance and the League of Composers. He also began the Copland-Sessions concerts, dedicated to presenting the works of young composers. He also introduced the Yaddo Festival of American Music. Furthermore, “El Salón México” was...
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