Aaron Copland, our first composer to achieve international fame, produced compositions that sound distinctly American. This presentation features video clips and CDs that illustrate his life and representative compositions.
Born and raised in Brooklyn by Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Copland sailed at age twenty for study in France. Upon his return, he incorporated jazz into early works such as Music for the Theatre (1925). His next style, often referred to as "esoteric" or austere, is represented by The Piano Variations (1930). In the mid-1930s, he simplified his compositions to recapture his public. He incorporated Mexican folk songs into El Salon Mexico and cowboy songs into Billy the Kid (1938). Copland's most famous work, the ballet Appalachian Spring, employs variations on the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts. Music for The City (1939) captures the essence of his film style.
New York Council for the Humanities funded program. New York Council for the Humanities distributes federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C.