Composer of the Week: Aaron CoplandAaron Copland was one of the first well-known American composers.Born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14th, 1900, Copland’s father had no musical interest. However, his mother enjoyed playing the piano and singing. His older sister, Lorraine, actually encouraged him more than anyone. She brought home opera programs and encouraged him to take piano lessons. When Copland was 15, he started taking lessons in harmony and music theory. After high school, he studied music in Paris, France for some time.
In 1925, Copland returned to the United States, determined to be a full-time composer. During his career, he composed such well-known pieces as Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring, as well as the ballets Rodeo and Billy the Kid. He composed film music as well, including the film versions of Our Town and Of Mice and Men. He also composed several symphonies and other standalone pieces. These include Third Symphony and Lincoln Portrait.
Aaron Copland was fascinated with the Russian revolution of 1917, which brought Communism to power. In the 1950s, he testified before Congress that he was never personally a Communist…though he had supported certain Communist groups earlier in his life. As the years passed, Copland became more interested in conducting and teaching rather than composing. Copland died of natural causes on December 2nd, 1990, though his best known pieces (Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man and Appalachian Spring) are performed today as well as used in movies, television and more.
Map of Brooklyn, New York