Aaron CoplandClassical | 2008
Born in Brooklyn, Aaron Copland was one of the most respected American classical composers of the 20th century. He incorporated popular forms of American music, such as jazz and folk, into his compositions, breaking free from classical’s European influence and creating a sound that was characteristically American. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Copland created such American masterworks as the ballet Billy the Kid and Rodeo, “Lincoln Portrait,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Appalachian Spring” for Martha Graham, “Symphony No. 3,” “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “El Salon Mexico,” and the opera The Tender Land. Copland was awarded the 1979 Kennedy Center Honors, and he received National Medal of Arts in 1986. He took up conducting while in his fifties and continued until he was 83. In 1982, the Aaron Copland School of Music was established in his honor at Queens College of the City University of New York. Copland died at the age of 90 in North Tarrytown, New York. Copland House, his home in Cortlandt Manor, New York, is now a historic and nonprofit creative center.