The son of Jewish immigrants and the youngest of five children, Aaron, grew up above his parent’s successful Brooklyn, New York department store. He credited his business abilities to his experience helping to run his parents store. His sister, Laurine, introduced young Aaron to ragtime, opera and was his first piano teacher. At the age of seven, he was making up tunes at the piano and was notating short pieces at twelve years old. Aaron’s first formal piano lessons were under the instruction of Leopold Wolfsohn (1913-17) and later he studied under Victor Wittgenstein (1917-19) and Clarence Adler (1919-21) (Pollack, 1:Life). However, lessons in composition and music theory were under the tutelage of Rubin Goldmark, “an old-fashioned teacher...against whom Copland rebelled” (naxos.com). During this time, Aaron was enamored with Scriabin, Debussy and Ives (which Goldmark called “dangerous”) and he scoured New York’s public libraries for the latest American and European scores. Finally, Aaron’s dream of studying in Paris came to fruition (1921-4) taking piano instruction from Ricardo Vines and studying composition with Nadia Boulanger. There he produced his first orchestral score, the ballet Grohg (Pollack, 1:Life). While in Paris, his European travels exposed him to a wide variety of music styles; however, with the encouragement of... [continues]
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