Americana: By Aaron Copland

Essay by bbaile02University, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

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Brett Bailey

Music Appreciation

Americana: By Aaron Copland

Four nearly four decades, Aaron Copland succeeded to establish a musical art form, and put America on the map of orchestral music, creating the sound known as Americana. One piece with this distinctive "American" or Americana sound is his ballet Rodeo (1942). But Copland was probably best known for his Fanfare for the Common Man (1942).

Born in Brooklyn, New York, November 14, 1900, Aaron Copland studied piano and composition. It was in 1914 when he began his studies with professional piano teacher, Ludwig Wolfsohn, in Brooklyn. In 1921, he enrolled at the newly-established, American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France in May, and attended the harmony class of Nadia Boulanger, and later begins composition studies with her in October. In 1925, after returning home to the United States from France, Copland debuted his first major orchestral work Symphony for Organ and Orchestra at Aeolian Hall in New York; Nadia Boulanger played the organ at this performance.

Over the next decade, Copland dedicated himself to producing a sound that would be known as Americana.

With scores of music that would give him renowned world-wide fame, Aaron Copland crafted a sound known as "American" or Americana by incorporating a range of styles in his work that included jazz and folk and connections to Latin America. Some of these works include Piano Variations (1930), The Dance Symphony (1930), El Salon Mexico (1935), A Lincoln Portrait (1942) and Fanfare for the Common Man (1942). In 1944, Copland composed the music to Martha Graham's dance Appalachian Spring , and would be awarded the Pulitzer Prize the following year for this work.

Fanfare for the Common Man is notably the piece that Copland is best known for. He wrote it in response to a solicitation from...