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 s and s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. 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 pedagogue Nadia Boulanger.
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At a time when Europeans dominated the classical scene, Aaron Copland succeeded in establishing American music as a force to be reckoned with. Who was he? He single-handedly gave American classical music its own distinctive voice and popular appeal What are his most famous works? Until he burst onto the scene in the s, American classical music had struggled to find its own authentic voice. The iconoclastic genius Charles Ives had been the first to make the break, but despite his frequent use of indigenous American material, his no-holds-barred approach to composing was certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, and went on to study piano and composition and studying in Europe for some time. An Oscar-winning writer of film scores as well, Copland died on December 2, The youngest of five children, Copland went on to develop an interest in the piano, receiving guidance from his older sister. He later studied under Rubin Goldmark in Manhattan and regularly attended classical music performances. At 20 years old Copland opted to continue his studies in Fontainebleau, France, where he received tutelage from the famed Nadia Boulanger. Studying a variety of European composers while abroad, Copland made his way back to the U.