Aaron Copland

Composer / Pianist

Born: 14 November 1900
Died: 2 December 1990
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: American composer who wrote Appalachian Spring
Aaron Copland was an American composer who won a Pulitzer Prize for his ballet Appalachian Spring (1944). A New Yorker, he studied in France in the early 1920s and returned to the United States in 1924 to begin his career as a composer. His first works were often experimental, and his early compositions were influenced by jazz. During the 1930s he shifted to creating music for a wider audience, and by mid-century he was probably the most famous composer in the U.S. Rooted in European traditions of classical music, Copland carved out a career integrating American folk traditions into operas, ballets, symphonies and film scores. His most famous works include the ballets Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944, with choreographer Martha Graham), the short piece "Fanfare for the Common Man" (1943) and the music for the films Our Town (1940) and The Heiress (1949, based on the novel by Henry James).
Extra credit: Copland won an Oscar for his 1949 music to The Heiress; he was nominated for Of Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940) and The North Star (1943).

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