Aaron Copland was born in 1900. He loved to write music and even more so, he loved to teach people how to enjoy it. He grew up in New York City, where he heard all kinds of music. During his lifetime, Americans were getting used to modern times. Artists and writers were trying out new ideas, and so were musicians. It was time for classical music to be revitalized.
Aaron went to study in Paris, the modern music center of the world. While he was there he traveled to many different countries. He was surprised to hear familiar jazz tunes being played throughout Europe. In response, Aaron wrote Symphony for Organ and Orchestra. The jazzy parts of the traditional symphony got mixed reviews, but Aaron kept adding those rhythms to his music anyway. Eventually, he visited Mexico, where he heard all kinds of folk tunes. He started to add these tunes to his music as well.
Aaron had always loved stories about the Old West, so his friends weren’t surprised when he wrote a ballet called Billy the Kid, which told the outlaws story in music and dance. Erin continued writing music that was distinctly American. He included tunes he heard from cowboys, riverboat captains, railway engineers, and church-goers. He wrote music for movies as well as for the stage and the concert hall. During his long life, he spent time encouraging young musicians and teaching audiences to listen and enjoy all kinds of music.
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Photo of Composer: By CBS Television – eBay item photo frontphoto back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19682201