Wednesday, November 14, 2012
American composer Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900. He had his musical start in France in his 20’s but focused on jazz as the first genuinely American music, from which he was inspired to create a new symphonic music distinct from that of Europe. He composed in different styles in different time periods, but he became the “Dean of American Composers” by developing a uniquely American style marked by open, changing harmonies and folk melodies that evoke the vastness and beauty of America and its resourceful spirit. Works he composed in the 1930s and 1940s made him famous, including the ballets “Billy the Kid” (1939), “Rodeo” (1942) and “Appalachian Spring” (1944), which he wrote for Martha Graham without knowing the ballet’s subject. The title, supplied later, actually refers to “spring” as a water source, not the season.