Aaron Copland

When American composer Aaron Copland was asked about his musical ambitions, he replied that it was his intention to develop a "solid American tradition". In 1900, when Copland was born, America was still a long way away from this tradition: only a few years before, the Czech Dvorák in a symphony he entitled "From the New World" had tried to use Native American folklore in hopes of establishing an "American" style in music, without its actually becoming attached to an "American" tradition. Around this time, Charles Ives was also seeking an "American" idiom, by using music drawn from the everyday experience of his fellow citizens in his works. Copland also had a long path to trod before he arrived at the realization of his intentions: like many American composers of his time, he studied in Europe and was first influenced by neoclassicism and jazz, before he began using folklore elements – especially Mexican and South American ones. In the 1950´s and 60´s, Copland then began taking an interest in serial techniques before putting composing on the back burner in favor of his activities as conductor – largely in performances of his own works. Copland died in 1990 in New York.

Born on November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York

Died on December 2, 1990 in Westchester, New York