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  • Aaron Copland CollectionProcessed by the Music Division of the

    Library of Congress

    Music Division, Library of Congress

    Washington, D.C.

    2005Contact information:

    Finding Aid encoded by Library ofCongress Music Division, 2005

    Finding aid URL:

    Latest revision: 2011 January

  • Collection SummaryTitle: Aaron Copland CollectionSpan Dates: 1841-1991Bulk Dates: (bulk 1911-1990)Call No.: ML31.C7Creator: Copland, Aaron, 1900-Extent: around 400,000 items; 564 boxes; 306 linear feetLanguage: Collection material in EnglishRepository: Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.Abstract: The Aaron Copland Collection consists of published and unpublished music by Coplandand other composers, correspondence, writings, biographical material, datebooks, journals,professional papers including legal and financial material, photographs, awards, art work, andbooks. Of particular interest is the correspondence with Nadia Boulanger, which extent over 50years, and with his long-time friend, Harold Clurman. Other significant correspondents areLeonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, Carlos Chvez, David Diamond, Roy Harris,Charles Ives, Claire Reis, Arnold Schoenberg, Roger Sessions, and Virgil Thomsom. Thephotographic collection of Copland's friend and confidant Victor Kraft, a professionalphotographer, forms part of the collection.

    Selected Search TermsThe following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's onlinecatalog. They are grouped by name of person or organization, by subject or location, and byoccupation and listed alphabetically therein.PeopleBernstein, Leonard, 1918-1990--Correspondence.Boulanger, Nadia--Correspondence.Bowles, Paul, 1910-1999--Correspondence.Britten, Benjamin, 1913-1976--Correspondence.Chvez, Carlos, 1899-1978--Correspondence.Clurman, Harold, 1901- --Correspondence.Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990--Autographs.Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990--Correspondence.Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990--Portraits.Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990.Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990.Diamond, David, 1915-2005--Correspondence.Harris, Roy, 1898-1979--Correspondence.Ives, Charles, 1874-1954--Correspondence.Kraft, Victor, 1915-1976.Reis, Claire R. (Claire Raphael)--Correspondence.Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951--Correspondence.Sessions, Roger, 1896-1985--Correspondence.Thomson, Virgil, 1896-1989--Correspondence.SubjectsMusicians--Correspondence.TitlesCopland collection, 1841-1991

    Aaron Copland Collection 2

  • Administrative InformationProvenanceSome manuscripts; Gift; Aaron Copland; circa 1940-1970.Bulk of the collection; Gift; Aaron Copland; 1989.Some manuscripts; Gift; Nadia Boulanger estate; July 18, 1980 and March 6, 1981.Libretto material for The tender land; Gift; Erik Johns.Some manuscripts; Gift; Bennett Lerner.AccrualsNo further accruals are expected.Processing HistoryThe Aaron Copland Collection was processed by Virginia Chang, Carol Lynn Flanigan, Wilda Heiss(Music Specialist), Albert Jones, Jonathan Kulp, Melchor de Medinaceli, Peggy Monastra, LloydPinchback (Music Specialist), Loras Schissel and Deanna Whitsitt, April 1995. The finding aid wasoriginally created using Word Perfect 5.1 software. The final formatting was begun by StefanPatejak in 1995 and completed by Michael A. Ferrando, November 2002. In 2002, Michael A.Ferrando coded and edited the finding aid for EAD format.A special thank you to Daniel Mathers for his invaluable assistance during the editing of the MusicManuscripts and Printed Editions by Aaron Copland.TransfersSound recordings and moving images were transferred to the Library of Congress Motion Picture,Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.Books from Copland's library were transferred to the Library of Congress Rare Book and SpecialCollections Division.Other Repositories1154 published scores by North and South American composers (not including Copland) arelocated in the Performing Arts Library at the New York Public Library. Microfilm is available in theLibrary of Congress Performing Arts Reading Room: Microfilm 93/20010.Copyright StatusThe status of copyright on the materials of the Aaron Copland Collection is governed by theCopyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).Access and RestrictionsThe Aaron Copland Collection is open to research. Researchers are advised to contact thePerforming Arts Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site and advancenotice is needed to retrieve these items for research use. Certain restrictions to use or copying ofmaterials may apply.Alternate Format AvailableDigitized images along with identifying information and a narrative introduction are also availablethrough the Library of Congress Web site under the title: The Aaron Copland Collection, circa1900-1990, at The site wasproduced for the National Digital Library Program, American Memory collections.

    Aaron Copland Collection 3

  • Preferred CitationResearchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: containernumber, Aaron Copland Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

    Biographical SketchDate Event1900 Nov 14 Born in Brooklyn, New York to Harris Morris Copland and Sarah Mittenthal

    Copland, the fifth and last child.

    1914 Started private piano lessons with Leopold Wolfsohn, Brooklyn, NY;subsequently studied piano with Victor Wittgenstein and Clarence Adler.

    1917-1921 Studied harmony and counterpoint with Rubin Goldmark in New York City.

    1918 Graduated from Boys' High School in Brooklyn.

    1921 Summer Studied at newly established American Conservatory at Fontainebleau nearParis.

    1921 Fall First piano piece, Scherzo Humoristique (The Cat and the Mouse), sold andpublished by Durand.

    1921 Fall-1924 Studied composition and orchestration with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

    1925 Wrote first of many articles for Modern Music.

    1925 Jan 11 Symphony for Organ and Orchestra (1924) performed by the New YorkPhilharmonic, with Nadia Boulanger as soloist and Walter Damrosch asconductor; later, performed by Serge Koussevitzky, who originallysuggested the composition, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    1925 Summer First stay at MacDowell Colony to work on Music for the Theatre,commissioned by the League of Composers, with the first performancescheduled in November with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston SymphonyOrchestra.

    1925-1926 Recipient of Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, the first in music, which wasrenewed for the 1926-1927 season.

    1927 Jan 28 Copland performed his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1926) with BostonSymphony, conducted by Serge Koussevitzky.

    1927-1929 Wrote Symphonic Ode (1927-29) for the 50th anniversary of the BostonSymphony Orchestra in 1930; subsequently, revised the composition for the75th anniversary of the orchestra in 1955.

    1927 Began lecturing at New School for Social Research, New York City.

    1928-1954 Joined League of Composers; later, in 1932, began serving on the Board ofDirectors.

    Aaron Copland Collection 4

  • 1928 Assisted Alma Morgenthau Wertheim in establishing the Cos Cob Press whichlater became Arrow Music Press.

    1928-1932 Co-founder with Roger Sessions of Copland-Sessions Concerts ofContemporary Music.

    1929 Awarded $5,000 prize from the RCA Victor Competition for Dance Symphony(1925), based on portions of unperformed ballet Grohg.

    1930 Wrote first extended piano work, Piano Variations.

    1932 Organized first Festival of Contemporary Music at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs,NY, and the second one the following year.

    1935 Taught composition at Harvard University while Walter Piston was on leave ofabsence.

    1937-1945 Co-founder and president of the American Composers Alliance.

    1938-1972 Co-founder and treasurer of Arrow Music Press, which incorporated the formerCos Cob Press.

    1938 Oct 16 First performance of ballet, Billy the Kid, written for Lincoln Kirstein and theBallet Caravan.

    1939 Published first book, What to Listen for in Music, based on lectures given at theNew School for Social Research.

    1939 Oct 13 Elected president of American Composers Alliance.

    1940-1965 At request of Serge Koussevitzky, taught composition during first season ofBerkshire Music Center at Tanglewood; when Tanglewood reopened in 1946after the war, Copland assumed many administrative positions in additionto teaching until his retirement in 1965.

    1941 Published book, Our New Music, based on lectures at the New School forResearch.

    1941 Toured Latin America to lecture, perform and conduct on a grant made possibleby the Committee for Inter-American Artistic and Intellectual Relations.

    1942 Completed Lincoln Portrait, commissioned by Andre Kostelanetz, with textcreated by Copland from speeches and letters of Abraham Lincoln.

    1942 Composed ballet, Rodeo, commissioned by Agnes de Mille.

    1942 Completed the Fanfare for the Common Man from a request by EugeneGoossens who conducted the premiere in 1943 with the CincinnatiSymphony Orchestra.

    1942 May 8 Elected a member in the Department of Music of the National Institute of Artsand Letters.

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  • 1945 Awarded Pulitzer Prize and Music Critic's Circle of New York for MarthaGraham ballet, Appalachian Spring (1944), commissioned by the ElizabethSprague Coolidge Music Foundation.

    1946 Jan 24 Elected a member of the America


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