“Variations on a Shaker Melody” from Appalachian Spring
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Learn fundamental concepts of music and engage in creative activities through a deeper exploration of the ideas and themes of the Link Up repertoire.
Aaron Copland (1900–1990) has been called “the dean of American composers.” He led the way in creating a new, distinctly American style of classical music. Copland was born in Brooklyn, where he attended public school and lived with his family above his parents’ store. The youngest of five children, Copland began writing songs at the age of eight, and started studying piano with his older sister Laurine when he was 11. When Copland was 21, he went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, a famous teacher who had a profound influence on him. He went on to write all kinds of music, including orchestral works, ballets, and movie scores. Copland’s most famous works, including Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo, incorporate elements of American folk and popular music. Copland was also a teacher, writer, conductor, and champion of American classical music. He received many honors during his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an Academy Award.