; November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later a conductor of his own and other American music. Copland was referred to by his peers and critics as "the Dean of American Composers
". The open, slowly changing harmonies in much of his music are typical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. He is best known for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. Works in this vein include the ballets Appalachian Spring
, Billy the Kid
, his Fanfare for the Common Man
and Third Symphony
. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works, he produced music in many other genres, including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.
After some initial studies with composer Rubin Goldmark
, Copland traveled to Paris, where he first studied with Isidor Philipp
and Paul Vidal
, then with noted pedagog Nadia Boulanger
. He studied three years with Boulanger, whose eclectic approach to music inspired his own broad taste. Determined upon his return to the U.S. to make his way as a full-time composer, Copland gave lecture-recitals, wrote works on commission and did some teaching and writing. However, he found that composing orchestral music in the modernist
style, which he had adopted while studying abroad, was a financially contradictory approach, particularly in light of the Great Depression
. He shifted in the mid-1930s to a more accessible musical style which mirrored the German idea of Gebrauchsmusik
("music for use"), music that could serve utilitarian and artistic purposes. During the Depression years, he traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, and Mexico, formed an important friendship with Mexican composer Carlos Chávez
and began composing his signature works. (Full article...