14 November 1900 - 2 December 1990 (age 90)

Aaron Copland, 20th century American composer of classical music with elements of jazz and american folk music.
He was also a writer, music critic and teacher, devoting much of his time to encouraging young musicians.
He was also in demand as a conductor.






Portrait of Aaron Copland


Born: Aaron Cohen November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York.
Father: Harris Morris Copland, (originally Kaplan) Lithuanian Jew, storekeeper
Mother: Sarah Mittenthal Copland,
Siblings: Ralph, Leon, Laurine, Josephine, Aaron was their fifth child
Ralph a good violinist. Sister Laurine gave him his first piano lessons.
Partners: Intermittent life-partner: photographer Victor Kraft
Children: none.
Cause of death: Alzheimer's disease
Grave: Ashes scattered. throughout Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts

Fanfare for the Common Man
conducted by Copland himself


* Fanfare for the Common Man
* Short Symphony
* Dance Symphony
* Third Symphony
* Appalachian Spring (ballet)
* Grohg (ballet)
* Billy the Kid (ballet)
* Rodeo (ballet)
* Lincoln Portrait
* Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson
* Dance Panels
* El Salon Mexico
* The Red Pony Suite
* Danzon Cubano
* Three Latin American Sketches
* Music for Theater
* Music for Movies including the scores for 'Of Mice and Men', 'Our Town', 'The Red Pony', and 'The Heiress' (for which he won an Oscar).
* Five books
* Over 60 essays and articles.
* teaching and conducting

Copland in Art
A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.


- Age 17: began studying music theory and composition.
- Age 21: went to the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France. The talented Nadia Boulanger was his main teacher. Being near Paris he got to know the works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Bartok.
- Age 24: returned to America. The following year Nadia Boulanger played his Symphony for Organ and Orchestra at the Carnegie Hall, New York.
- Age 27: first concert as a pianist. Start of 10 years of lecturing at the New School for Social Research, New York
- Age 30 Organizes Festival of Contemporary Music at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Age 32: First concert tour of Mexico.
- Age 36: Begins writing for Modern Music magazine.
- Age 39: Writes his first book 'What to Listen for in Music'.
- Age 40: Director of composition at the summer school at Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood. A position which he filled for 25 years.
- Age 45: Awarded Pulitzer Prize in Music and also the New York Music Critics Circle Award for Appalachian Spring.
- Age 46: Symphony No 3 wins New York Music Critics Circle Award.
- Age 47: Four month tour of Latin America.
- Age 51: Appointed Norton Professor of Poetics at Harvard University. For the next 20 years his main activity was conducting and he undertook many tours all over the world presenting not only his own work but also that of other American composers.
- Age 70 onwards : His composing activity slowed right down but he continued lecturing and conducting until his mid 80s. He won many awards and over 40 honorary degrees from universities all over the world.
- He died just after his 90th birthday.

Copland Quotes

-"You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down... some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today. "

- "To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable."

- "A melody is not merely something you can hum."

- "So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning."

Amazon Store
Books and CDs on Amazon.com (US)

Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring

Lincoln Portrait
Los Angeles Philharmonic, narrated by American actor Gregory Peck. The image editing is by James Ayala.

Clarinet Concerto
played by Bach Society Orchestra and Jonathan Cohler

Billy the Kid
London Symphony Orchestra

El Salòn Mèxico
Toscanini NBC 1942

Copland on eBay

On eBay you will find bargains galore but more interestingly there is a treasure chest of old items. Out of print books, old recordings no longer available, memorabilia and goods no longer sold on the High Street.To see what is currently on offer take a look at:

Links, sources and where to go for more information

- Library of Congress collection

- Copland House

The Copland Fund a short resumé


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