Aaron Copland


Born: November 14th, 1900 in Brooklyn, NY
Died: December 2nd, 1990 (at age 90) in Sleepy Hollow, NY
Nationality: American
Fields: Concert pieces, clasical music and ballet scores
Famous For: Creating unique and popular American in a modern style
Awards: Presidential Medal of Freedom, University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit, New York Music Critic’s Circle Award, Pulitzer Prize

Aaron Copland was undeniably one of America’s best music composers. His unique style ceaselessly captures the hearts of a majority of Americans. To many, Copland is always remembered as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. His popular genres were classical music, ballet scores and concert pieces. He is also notably remembered for furthering American music when all the attention was being paid to Europe.

Early Life

Copland was born November 14th, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the youngest born to Sarah Mittenthal Copland and Harris Morris Copland. His parents were Jewish Immigrants from Lithuania. His first experience with music was through one of his sisters who showed him how to play the piano. At age 15, he persuaded his parents into pursuing a career in music. At age 17, he began studying music theory in his High schools days. In 1921, he progressed in his music career and traveled to Paris, France and met his French music composer teacher and mentor by the name Nadia Boulanger. It is in this period where composers from France, Spain and Russia mostly created their own national styles; thus, he gained an insight to create his own unique American strain which he termed “serious music.”

Nevertheless, the years he spent in Paris were significant as he absorbed and listened to the European music that was trending at that time. This included the works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bartok and others.

Professional Career

After completing his studies in 1924, he returned to the United States to bring a phenomenal change in the type of music people listened to. He immediately began writing his full-fledged pieces and sold his first musical composition that gave him a breakthrough in expanding the American audience. His vision was to see that the American classical music would become as popular as Jazz or folk music in Mexico. For sure, this became a reality; his career was pronounced when Koussevitzky, whom he had met in Paris contracted Copland’s Organ Symphony in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Nadia Boulanger as soloist. However, his success did not mark the end of the great musical revolution. He sought to further new music by composing, lecturing and organizing ground-breaking concerts in New York. This not only attracted US citizens but also European avant-garde for the first time ever.

Contributions to Music

His influence through music is well known, especially at the time America faced the great depression and the raging wars. His music spoke to the average citizens who needed to hear words of hope. His Copland-Session concerts also inspired young composers by presenting their works and also nurtured the careers of upcoming musicians like Carlos Chevez, Leonard Bernstein and Toru Tekemitsu. In the mid 1930’s Aaron was a reputable composer and also a leader of American classical Community. This resulted in him get many awards and a lot of recognition. This includes the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “Oscar,” the Kennedy Center Award and so forth. In addition, the iconic Aaron Copland School of Music, establish in his honor, is a remarkable school that helps to nurture young composers.