Copland, Aaron (opera)
- Vivian Perlis
(b Brooklyn, ny , Nov 14, 1900; d Westchester, ny , Dec 2, 1990). American composer . He studied harmony and counterpoint with Rubin Goldmark and then became a pupil of Nadia Boulanger in France, 1921–4. As well as influencing his work she introduced him to Koussevitzky, the newly appointed conductor of the Boston SO, who championed his music when he returned to the USA. Copland’s reputation rests mainly on his instrumental works, especially the orchestral and ballet music, though he was also active as a lecturer, author and conductor. He was a leading figure at the Tanglewood Music Center for 21 summers, first as Koussevitzky’s assistant and later as chairman of the faculty. As his conducting career escalated in the 1960s and 70s, his composing decreased. Many tributes, awards and honorary degrees attest to Copland’s stature as a composer and as a dedicated advocate of contemporary music and of American composers. His works are marked by rhythmic vitality and a distinctive personal signature. Following the jazz-orientated pieces of the 1920s, he produced several important compositions in an abstract and difficult style. In the 1930s and 40s he turned to a more accessible idiom, frequently adapting and including folktunes, as in the ballet scores that are among his most popular works. He returned to a more austere style for his last symphonic pieces of the 1960s....