10 Interesting Facts about Aaron Copland

One of these following facts about Aaron Copland might give you much information what kind of person he was. Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, in his later years he was often referred to as “the Dean of American Composers” and is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as Populist and which the composer labeled his “vernacular” style. To get to know more about him, here are some other facts about Aaron Copland you might be interested in.

Facts about Aaron Copland 1: Zonatello

At the age of eleven, Copland devised an opera scenario he called Zenatello, which included seven bars of music, his first notated melody.From 1913 to 1917 he took music lessons with Leopold Wolfsohn, who taught him the standard classical fare. Copland’s first public music performance was at a Wanamaker recital.

Facts about Aaron Copland 2: Copland’s Graduation

Copland’s graduation piece from his studies with Goldmark was a three-movement piano sonata in a Romantic style. But he had also composed more original and daring pieces which he did not share with his teacher.In addition to regularly attending the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Symphony, where he heard the standard classical repertory, Copland continued his musical development through an expanding circle of musical friends.

Facts about Aaron Copland - Aaron Copland
Facts about Aaron Copland – Aaron Copland

Facts about Aaron Copland 3: Major Influence

Copland exerted a major influence on the compositional style of an entire generation of American composers, including his friend and protégé Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein was considered the finest conductor of Copland’s works and cites Copland’s “aesthetic, simplicity with originality” as being his strongest and most influential traits.

Facts about Aaron Copland 4: Influences

Copland’s earliest musical inclinations as a teenager ran toward Chopin, Debussy, Verdi and the Russian composers. Some of his preferences might also have been formed by the anti-German feelings during World War I, as later he studied German music.

Facts about Aaron Copland - Aaron Copland School of Music
Facts about Aaron Copland – Aaron Copland School of Music

Facts about Aaron Copland 5: French Music

Copland was excited to be so close to the new post-Impressionistic French music of Ravel, Roussel and Satie, as well as Les six, a group that included Milhaud, Poulenc an Honegger. Webern, Berg, and Bartok also impressed him. Copland was “insatiable” in seeking out the newest European music, whether in concerts, score reading or heated debate.

Facts about Aaron Copland 6: Igor Stravinsky

Above all others, Copland named Igor Stravinsky as his “hero” and his favorite 20th-century composer. Stravinsky was in many ways his premiere model. Stravinsky’s rhythm and vitality is apparent in many of his works.Copland especially admired Stravinsky’s “jagged and uncouth rhythmic effects,” “bold use of dissonance,” and “hard, dry, crackling sonority.”

Facts about Aaron Copland - Aaron Copland writing
Facts about Aaron Copland – Aaron Copland writing

Facts about Aaron Copland 7: Jazz

Jazz played an important role for some of Copland’s compositions. What constituted as Jazz was contested by many musicians and scholars. Copland believed that the essence of Jazz was rooted in rhythm.

Facts about Aaron Copland 8: Early Work

Copland’s earliest compositions before leaving for Paris were short works for piano and some art songs, inspired mostly by Liszt and Debussy. He experimented with ambiguous beginnings and endings, rapid key changes, and the frequent use of tritones.

Facts about Aaron Copland - Copland's house
Facts about Aaron Copland – Copland’s house

Facts about Aaron Copland 9: First Symphony

Copland composed three numbered symphonies, but applied the word “symphony” to more than just symphonies of typical structure. He re-orchestrated his early three-movement Organ Symphony omitting the organ, calling the result his First Symphony. His fifteen-minute Short Symphony was the Second Symphony, though it also exists as the Sextet.

Facts about Aaron Copland 10: Later Work

Copland’s work in the late 1940s and 1950s included use of Schonberg’s twelve-tone system, a development that he recognized as important, but which he did not fully embrace. His first result was his “Piano Quartet” (1950).

Facts about Aaron Copland - Copland's teacher
Facts about Aaron Copland – Copland’s teacher

Hope you would find those Aaron Copland facts interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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