A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Aaron Copland

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November 14, 1900: Aaron Copland is born at 630-632 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, USA, fifth of five children born to Harris M. Copland (originally Kaplan), a Russian immigrant and proprietor of a dry goods store, and Sarah Mittenthal, also a Russian immigrant, daughter of a dry goods merchant.
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May 12, 1921: Students of Karl Goldmark give him a dinner at the Restaurant Esplanade in New York. Afterwards, several harmonizations of a chorale are played, anonymously. After one particularly dissonant example is performed, Goldmark points to Aaron Copland (20) and says, “You are the culprit.” It is Copland’s Scherzo Humoristique: Le Chat et la Souris.
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June 9, 1921: Aaron Copland (20) boards ship in New York for France to attend the Conservatoire americain at Fontainebleau.
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June 15, 1921: Aaron Copland (20) lands at Le Havre. On the trip from New York he has befriended a young painter named Marcel Duchamp.
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June 18, 1921: Five members of Les Six, Arthur Honegger (29), Germaine Tailleferre, Darius Milhaud (28), Francis Poulenc (22), and Georges Auric, are brought together by Jean Cocteau, each to produce a section of the ballet Les mariés de la tour Eiffel, to his scenario. The work is produced at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris. Audience reactions are strongly mixed. Aaron Copland (20) is in the audience, but he remembers it as 19 June.
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June 25, 1921: Aaron Copland (20) reaches the school at Fontainebleau.
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June 26, 1921: The Conservatoire americain opens at Fontainebleau. Nadia Boulanger (33) is among the faculty. The first to enroll is Aaron Copland (20). Present for the opening is the Harvard Glee Club including Virgil Thomson (24).
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September 21, 1921: The Cat and Mouse, a piano work by Aaron Copland (20), is performed for the first time, by the composer in a student recital at the Salle Gaveau, Paris. Upon hearing it, the publisher Jacques Durand buys it for 500 francs. It is Copland’s first work in print, titled Scherzo humoristique.
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September 23, 1921: Two works for piano by Aaron Copland (20) are performed for the first time, in the Salle Gaveau, Paris: Sonnet III and Three Moods.
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October 26, 1921: Aaron Copland (20) visits the Paris apartment of Nadia Boulanger (34) at 36 rue Ballu (now 3 Place Lili Boulanger) with some of his scores. Among them he plays “Jazzy” the last of his Three Moods for piano.  Boulanger immediately accepts him as a student. Copland will call his studies with Mme Boulanger “the decisive musical experience of my life.” (Copland&Perlis 2012)
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December 6, 1921: Composer and pianist Jean Wiéner opens his Concerts Wiéner new music series in the Salle des Agriculteurs, Paris. He programs an hour of jazz with Billy Arnold and his band, a player piano version of Le Sacre du Printemps, and Darius Milhaud’s (29) Sonata for flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano op.47. Aaron Copland (21) is in the audience. Wiéner will recall that Maurice Ravel (46) enjoyed the performance very much but that Albert Roussel (52) walked out in protest.
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December 20, 1921: Aaron Copland (21) arrives in London for a brief visit during his European studies.
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January 10, 1922: Two works for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (21) are performed for the first time, in the Salle des agriculteurs, Paris, the composer at the piano: Old Poem, to anonymous Chinese words (tr. Waley), and Pastorale to anonymous Kafiristan words (tr. Matthews).
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March 7, 1922: Through the influence of Nadia Boulanger (34), Aaron Copland (21) plays his Passacaglia and accompanies himself on three of his songs for the entire seven-man board of Senart music publishers. Copland describes the response as “arid.” Eventually they agree to publish his work.
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March 26, 1922: Aaron Copland (21) and a young American friend depart Paris for a trip to Italy.
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March 27, 1922: Aaron Copland (21) arrives in Milan on a trip to Italy during his European studies.
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March 30, 1922: Aaron Copland (21) arrives in Rome on a trip to Italy during his European studies.
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April 11, 1922: Aaron Copland (21) arrives in Florence from Rome on a trip to Italy during his European studies.
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April 16, 1922: Aaron Copland (21) arrives back in Paris after a trip to Italy.
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October 18, 1923: Igor Stravinsky’s (41) Octet for Winds is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra, conducted by the composer. Also on the program is the premiere of the First Violin Concerto op.19 of Sergey Prokofiev (32). Present for the occasion, along with both composers, are Nadia Boulanger (36), members of Les Six, Karol Szymanowski (41), Aaron Copland (22), Pablo Picasso, Anna Pavlova, Arthur Rubinstein, and Josef Szigeti. Comparing it to Stravinsky’s earlier ballets, Copland calls this “a reverse shocker.”
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February 6, 1924: Madrigal aux muses op.25 for female chorus by Albert Roussel (54) to words of Bernard, is performed for the first time, at the Salle Pleyel, Paris. On the same program is the premiere of As It Fell Upon A Day for soprano, flute, and clarinet by Aaron Copland (23) to words of Barnefield.
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January 11, 1925: Symphony for Organ and Orchestra by Aaron Copland (24) is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York. The composer’s teacher, Nadia Boulanger (37), is at the organ. The public is impressed along with most of the critics, but conductor Walter Damrosch is quoted as saying, “If a gifted young man can write a symphony like this at 23, within five years he will be ready to commit murder.”
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April 24, 1925: Two works for female chorus by Aaron Copland (24), The House on the Hill to words of Robinson, and An Immorality, to words of Pound, is performed for the first time, in New York.
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May 1, 1925: Cortège macabre for orchestra (an excerpt from Grohg) by Aaron Copland (24) is performed for the first time, in Rochester, New York Howard Hanson (28) conducting.
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November 20, 1925: Music for the Theatre, for chamber orchestra by Aaron Copland (25), is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston.
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April 18, 1926: The John Simon Guggenheim Foundations fellowships are announced, including ones for Aaron Copland (25) and Roger Sessions (29).
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May 5, 1926: New works by Americans are performed for the first time in a concert sponsored by the US ambassador Myron T. Herrick at the Salle des Concerts, Maison Gaveau, Paris: Two Pieces for violin and piano by Aaron Copland (25), the composer at the keyboard, Piano Sonata by Walter Piston (32), and the Sonata da chiesa for Eb clarinet, D trumpet, viola, horn, and trombone by Virgil Thomson (29).
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June 23, 1926: Anton Webern's (42) Five Pieces for orchestra op.10 is performed for the first time, in the Zürich Tonhalle during the fourth ISCM festival. Aaron Copland (25) is in the audience. He writes, “The orchestral sonorities he manages to get are magical, nothing less.”
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January 28, 1927: Aaron Copland’s (26) Piano Concerto is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston, the composer at the keyboard. One audience member, a Harvard student named Elliott Carter (18), goes backstage after the concert and introduces himself to Copland.
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February 13, 1927: Two Pieces for violin and piano by Aaron Copland (26) are performed for the first time, in a League of Composers concert, in Anderson Galleries, New York the composer at the keyboard. Also premiered is the song As if a Phantom Caress’d Me for voice and piano by Marc Blitzstein (21) to words of Whitman, and Sonata for violin and piano by Ruth Crawford (25).
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May 30, 1927: Igor Stravinsky's (44) opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex, to words of Cocteau after Sophocles (translated into Latin by Daniélou), is performed publicly for the first time, in a concert setting, at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt, Paris, the composer conducting. The chorus and speaker are onstage, the orchestra and soloists in the pit. The performance has little success. The audience is, in the composer's words, “barely polite.” Among them is Aaron Copland (26). See 23 February 1928.
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July 17, 1927: Paul Hindemith's (31) dramatic sketch Hin und zurück, to words of Schiffer, is performed for the first time, in Baden-Baden. It is received well by press and public. Also on the program is the premiere of Mahagonny, a “songspiel” by Kurt Weill (27) to words of Bertolt Brecht, accompanied by loud insults and flying missiles, mostly rotten produce. This marks the first appearance of Lotte Lenja (Frau Weill) in a work of Weill. Among the audience is Aaron Copland (26).
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April 22, 1928: The first of the Copland-Sessions concerts of Contemporary Music takes place at the Edyth Totten Theatre, New York, featuring premieres of works by Carlos Chávez (28) and Virgil Thomson (31) including Piano Sonata no.3, Sonatina for violin and piano, Sonatina for cello and piano, and the Piano Sonatina by Chávez, the composer at the keyboard, and Thomson’s Five Phrases from the Song of Solomon for soprano and percussion (first public performance). In Thomson’s work, Aaron Copland (27) plays percussion. Thomson is presently in Paris. Roger Sessions (31) is in Northampton, Massachusetts finishing the Piano Sonata that was intended for this concert. See 2 July 1926.
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May 6, 1928: In the second Copland-Sessions concert, Lento molto for string quartet by Aaron Copland (27) and two movements of the Piano Sonata no.1 by Roger Sessions (31) are performed for the first time, at the Edyth Totten Theatre, New York. Also premiered are four piano preludes by Ruth Crawford (26), and Three Paeans for piano by Dane Rudhyar (33). See 14 December 1928 and 3 March 1930.
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August 25, 1928: Carlos Chávez (29) writes to Aaron Copland (27) and formally invites him to come to Mexico City and perform his Piano Concerto during Chávez’ first season with the Orquesta Sinfónica de México. Copland’s appearance has already been advertised. See 7 September 1928.
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September 7, 1928: Aaron Copland (27) writes to Carlos Chávez (29) from the MacDowell Colony that it will be impossible to go to Mexico City during the upcoming season but that he would like to in the future. See 25 August 1928.
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December 14, 1928: La Symphonie by Bohuslav Martinu (38) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston. It was composed to commemorate the event in June 1918 when the first Czechoslovak flag was presented to the Czechoslovak regiment in Darney, France. On the same program is the premiere of Lento molto for string orchestra by Aaron Copland (28).
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February 16, 1929: Vitebsk, for violin, cello, and piano by Aaron Copland (28), is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York.
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April 25, 1929: A setting of Psalm 80 for tenor, chorus, and orchestra and Fanfare pour un sacre païen for brass and percussion, both by Albert Roussel (60), are performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
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April 25, 1929: Aaron Copland (28) and Marc Blitzstein (24) join Frederick Jacobi and Louis Gruenberg as pianists under the baton of Leopold Stokowski in the American premiere of Les Noces by Igor Stravinsky (46) at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
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May 20, 1929: Aaron Copland (28) and Marc Blitzstein (24) arrive in Paris. Blitzstein will renew his friendship with the writer Eva Goldbeck (they met at the MacDowell Colony last year), despite the fact that he has told her he is a homosexual.
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June 17, 1929: A concert entitled “Concert d’Oeuvres de Jeunes Compositeurs Américains”, organized by Aaron Copland (28) and Nadia Boulanger (41), takes place at the Salle Chopin, Paris. Featured on the program are works by Copland, Carlos Chávez (30), and Roy Harris (31). Several works for voice and piano by Virgil Thomson (32) are performed for the first time, the composer at the piano: Susie Asado, La Seine, and the cycle Preciosilla, all to words of Stein, Le Berceau de Gertrude Stein, ou La Mystère de la Rue de Fleurus and the cycle La Valse grégorienne, both to words of Hugnet.
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January 7, 1930: Helen Tamiris and her dance company perform the first known dance to the music of Aaron Copland (29), in New York. She calls is Sentimental Dance, to the music of Sentimental Melody: Slow Dance for piano.
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January 4, 1931: Piano Variations by Aaron Copland (30) is performed for the first time, by the composer in the Art Center, New York. The critics are not pleased.
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March 15, 1931: At the last Copland (30)-Sessions (34) Concert, in the Broadhurst Theatre, New York, three experimental films by Ralph Steiner are shown: H2O, Mechanical Principles, and Surf and Seaweed. The first two feature music by Colin McPhee (30), and music for the last was composed by Marc Blitzstein (26).
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March 16, 1931: Incidental music to Chlumberg’s play Miracle at Verdun by Aaron Copland (30) is performed for the first time, at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York.
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April 15, 1931: Dance Symphony by Aaron Copland (30) is performed for the first time, at the Philadelphia Academy of Music.
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February 19, 1932: Symphonic Ode, by Aaron Copland (31), composed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston.
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April 30, 1932: The First Festival of American Contemporary Music opens at Yaddo, the home of Katrina and Spencer Trask in Saratoga Springs, New York. The program and performer selection has been largely the responsibility of Aaron Copland (31).
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May 1, 1932: Several songs by Charles Ives (57) are performed for the first time, in Saratoga Springs, New York: The See’r and Walking to his own words, Evening to words of Milton, Maple Leaves to words of Aldrich, and The Indians to words of Sprague. The pianist is Aaron Copland (31). Also premiered is the Serenade for string quartet by Marc Blitzstein (27). In the audience is Elliott Carter (23).
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September 2, 1932: After driving from New York to San Antonio, and taking a train from San Antonio, Aaron Copland (31) arrives in Mexico City, invited by Carlos Chávez (33) to attend several performances of Copland’s work. Tonight is the first all-Copland concert anywhere. He will stay for four months.
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April 2, 1933: Two new chamber works are performed for the first time, on the same program in New York: Soli I for oboe, clarinet, trumpet, and bassoon by Carlos Chávez (33) and Elegies for violin and viola by Aaron Copland (32).
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October 1, 1933: Concerto for string sextet by Roy Harris (35) is performed for the first time, at the Yaddo Estate, Saratoga Springs, New York. Also premiered is Charles Ives’ (58) song Where the eagle cannot see to words of Turnbull. The pianist in the Ives is Aaron Copland (32).
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March 16, 1934: An all-Aaron Copland (33) concert takes place at the Degeyter Club in New York associated with the American Communist Party. Before the performance, Copland informs his audience that today’s composer needs to identify “with the great masses of the proletariat.” He also informs them, however, that none of his music is revolutionary in that sense.
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April 29, 1934: Into the Streets May First for unison chorus and piano by Aaron Copland (33) to words of Hayes is performed for the first time, in New York. It is the winner of a contest to set these words to music, sponsored by the New Masses.
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November 15, 1934: Walter Piston (40) writes to Aaron Copland (34) asking if he would like to take over his composition class at Harvard next semester. Copland is amused, considering he never went to college, and accepts.
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November 23, 1934: Aaron Copland’s (34) Short Symphony is performed for the first time, in Mexico City conducted by Carlos Chávez (35).
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November 30, 1934: Hear Ye! Hear Ye!, a ballet by Aaron Copland (34) to a scenario by Page, is performed for the first time, at the Chicago Opera House.
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February 6, 1935: Poet’s Song for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (34) to words of Cummings, is performed for the first time, in New York.
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September 1, 1935: The Nazi Party sends out one of several letters listing composers whose music is considered degenerate and may not be played. Among those honored are Erik Satie (†10), Ernst Bloch (55), Joseph Matthias Hauer (52), Alfredo Casella (52), Alban Berg (50), Kurt Weill (35), Ernst Krenek (35), and Aaron Copland (34).
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October 11, 1935: Two songs for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (34) are performed for the first time, in the New School for Social Research, New York the composer at the piano: Vocalise and Poet’s Song to words of Cummings.
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October 30, 1935: The Composers’ Forum Laboratory, a branch of the Federal Music Project, opens at the Midtown Community Music Center, 93 Park Avenue in New York with a concert of music by Roy Harris (37). Among the advisory committee for the Laboratory are Aaron Copland (34) and Edgard Varèse (51).
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January 9, 1936: The fifth and sixth movements of Statements for orchestra by Aaron Copland (35) are performed for the first time, in an NBC radio broadcast originating in Minneapolis. See 7 January 1942.
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February 24, 1936: Works for piano are performed for the first time, at a concert of educational music by contemporary composers at the City College of New York: Two Children’s Pieces by Aaron Copland (35) and The Harper Minstrel Sings and The Irishman Dances, both by Henry Cowell (38).
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April 21, 1937: The Second Hurricane, a school opera by Aaron Copland (36) to words of Denby, is performed for the first time, in the Henry Street Settlement Music School, New York.
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July 25, 1937: Music for Radio (later retitled Prairie Journal ) by Aaron Copland (36) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the CBS radio network originating in New York.
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August 27, 1937: Aaron Copland’s (36) tone poem El Salón México is performed for the first time, in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City Carlos Chávez (38) conducting in the presence of the composer.
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November 14, 1937: At a dance recital in New York, Leonard Bernstein (19) finds that his set is next to Aaron Copland (37) for the first time. Later in the evening, at a birthday party for Copland, Bernstein performs Copland’s Piano Variations and several other things at the keyboard. The two become life-long friends.
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December 19, 1937: 48 composers meet in New York to form the American Composers Alliance “to regularize and collect all fees pertaining to the performance of copyrighted music.” A temporary executive committee is appointed, including Wallingford Riegger (52), Virgil Thomson (41), Roger Sessions (40), Roy Harris (39), and Aaron Copland (37).
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February 13, 1938: At the second meeting of the general membership of the American Composers Alliance, Aaron Copland (37) is chosen as president. He will serve until 1945.
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February 23, 1938: Signature for orchestra by Aaron Copland (37) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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May 25, 1938: The Second Symphony "Symphony for Strings" by William Schuman (27) is performed for the first time, in New York by the Greenwich Orchestra and funded by the Federal Music Project. Aaron Copland (37) is in the audience.
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October 6, 1938: Billy the Kid, a ballet by Aaron Copland (37), is performed for the first time, on two pianos in Chicago. See 24 May 1939 and 9 November 1940.
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November 6, 1938: Billy the Kid, a ballet by Aaron Copland (37), is performed for the first time, on two pianos in Chicago. While in Chicago, Copland meets a young dancer in the Ballet Caravan named Jerome Robbins. See 24 May 1939 and 9 November 1940.
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December 16, 1938: An Outdoor Overture by Aaron Copland (38) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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January 3, 1939: Amy Beach (71), Daniel Gregory Mason (65), John Alden Carpenter (62), Wallingford Riegger (53), Aaron Copland (38), Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Efrem Zimbalist, Olin Downes, and Alfred Hertz sign a letter urging the United States to lift the arms embargo against the “legitimate Spanish government.”
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February 26, 1939: Sextet for clarinet, piano, and string quartet by Aaron Copland (38) is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York.
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February 27, 1939: Incidental music to a composite of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays entitled The Five Kings by Aaron Copland (38) is performed for the first time, in the Colonial Theatre, Boston along with Copland’s incidental music to Irwin Shaw’s play Quiet City for clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and piano.
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March 20, 1939: Virgil Thomson (42) writes to Aaron Copland (38) calling Copland’s new book What to Listen for in Music “a bore.” See 1 May 1939.
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May 1, 1939: Aaron Copland (38) answers Virgil Thomson’s (42) letter of 20 March saying “I enjoyed reading your strictures on the book more than much of the praise it has had.”
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May 7, 1939: Prologue for chorus and orchestra by William Schuman (28) to words of Taggard, is performed for the first time, in New York by the New York Federal Symphony and funded by the Federal Music Project. This concert is the first FMP concert featuring all-Guggenheim recipients. Along with Schuman, music by Aaron Copland (38), Roy Harris (41), Walter Piston (45), and Paul Nordoff is performed.
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May 12, 1939: Incidental music to a puppet show entitled From Sorcery to Science by Aaron Copland (38) is performed for the first time, in the Hall of Pharmacy at the New York World’s Fair.
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May 24, 1939: Billy the Kid, a ballet by Aaron Copland (38), is performed for the first time with orchestra, in the Martin Beck Theatre, New York. See 6 October 1938 and 9 November 1940.
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May 26, 1939: The City, a film with music by Aaron Copland (38), is shown for the first time, at the New York World’s Fair.
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September 6, 1939: Aaron Copland (38) writes from Woodstock, New York to Benjamin Britten (25) urging him to avoid conscription. “Anyone can shoot a gun--but how many can write music like you?”
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September 23, 1939: Elliott Carter (30) sends the score to a suite from his ballet Pochahontas to Serge Koussevitzky in Boston, along with a letter of support from Aaron Copland (38). See 4 December 1939.
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December 4, 1939: Serge Koussevitzky writes to Elliott Carter (30) about the suite from Pochahontas that Carter sent him for possible performance in Boston. Koussevitzky calls the work “brilliant” but says it is “too light for introducing your name for the first time in the Boston Symphony programs.” (Wierzbicki, 27) Carter sent the score at the suggestion of Aaron Copland (39).
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December 22, 1939: Of Mice and Men, a film with music by Aaron Copland (39), is shown for the first time, in Hollywood. The composer attends the premiere.
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March 5, 1940: John Henry for small orchestra by Aaron Copland (39) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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May 9, 1940: Our Town, a film with music by Aaron Copland (39), is shown for the first time, in Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles.
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July 8, 1940: The opening ceremonies for the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in Lennox, Massachusetts take place. The first season includes the residency of Paul Hindemith (44) and Aaron Copland (39). Among the students are Norman Dello Joio (27), Leonard Bernstein (21) and Lukas Foss (17).
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November 9, 1940: A suite from the ballet Billy the Kid by Aaron Copland (39) is performed for the first time, at Radio City, New York. See 6 October 1938 and 24 May 1939.
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January 28, 1941: Quiet City by Aaron Copland (40), arranged for english horn, trumpet, and strings from his incidental music to Shaw’s play of the same name, is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York. See 27 February 1939.
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March 9, 1941: Episode for organ by Aaron Copland (40) is performed for the first time, in New York.
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July 6, 1941: The Berkshire Music Center opens at Tanglewood for a second season. Paul Hindemith (45) and Aaron Copland (40) are again the resident composers. Students include Norman Dello Joio (28), Ulysses Kay (24), Robert Ward (23), and Lukas Foss (18).
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August 19, 1941: Aaron Copland (40) begins a four month tour of nine Latin American countries.
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September 26, 1941: Aaron Copland (40) meets Alberto Ginastera (25) for the first time, in Buenos Aires calling him the “white hope” of Argentine music.
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October 21, 1941: Piano Sonata by Aaron Copland (40) is performed for the first time, by the composer, in Buenos Aires.
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January 7, 1942: Statements for Orchestra by Aaron Copland (41) is performed completely for the first time, in New York. See 9 January 1936.
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March 25, 1942: New works are performed for the first time in Carnegie Hall, New York at a memorial concert in honor of Kurt Schindler, founder of the Schola Cantorum: Las agachadas for chorus by Aaron Copland (41) to traditional Spanish words, and Tree of Sorrow, an arrangement of Spanish folksongs for chorus by Carlos Chávez (42).
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May 7, 1942: The fourth of the Four Piano Blues by Aaron Copland (41) is performed for the first time, in Montevideo. See 13 March 1950.
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May 8, 1942: US Vice President Henry Wallace gives a nationally broadcast radio address entitled “The Price of Free World Victory: The Century of the Common Man.” Aaron Copland (41) hears the speech and will remember it when he is commissioned to write a fanfare later this year.
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May 14, 1942: Two new works by American composers are performed for the first time, in Cincinnati: Lincoln Portrait for speaker and orchestra by Aaron Copland (41) and The Mayor LaGuardia Waltzes for orchestra by Virgil Thomson (45).
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July 23, 1942: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge writes to Aaron Copland (41) asking whether he will accept a commission to write a dance for Martha Graham. He will accept.
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August 30, 1942: Eugene Goosens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, writes to Aaron Copland (41), offering a commission for a fanfare to aid the war effort to be played in the orchestra’s upcoming season. See 12 March 1943.
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October 16, 1942: Rodeo, a ballet by Aaron Copland (41) to a scenario by De Mille, is performed for the first time, at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. It is a glittering sold out event and a great success. In the audience, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II decide to hire Agnes de Mille to choreograph their next project, Oklahoma!. See 28 May 1943 and 22 June 1943.
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December 9, 1942: The 20th anniversary of the League of Composers is celebrated in Town Hall, New York with several first performances, including String Quartet no.11 by Darius Milhaud (50), Quintet for flute and strings by Walter Piston (48), Danzón cubano for two pianos by Aaron Copland (42) performed by the composer and Leonard Bernstein (24), and Madrigal-Sonata for flute, violin, and piano by Bohuslav Martinu (52).
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February 17, 1943: Aaron Copland’s (42) Music for Movies, an arrangement for chamber orchestra of music from three of his film scores, is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York.
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March 12, 1943: The 16th of 18 patriotic fanfares for brass and percussion commissioned by Eugene Goossens and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (42), is performed for the first time, in Cincinnati.
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April 13, 1943: Lark for baritone and chorus by Aaron Copland (42) to words of Taggard is performed for the first time, in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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May 28, 1943: An orchestral arrangement of four dance episodes from Aaron Copland’s (42) ballet Rodeo is performed for the first time, in Boston. Only three of the episodes are performed. See 16 October 1942 and 22 June 1943.
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June 22, 1943: An orchestral arrangement of four dance episodes from Aaron Copland’s (42) ballet Rodeo is performed completely for the first time, in New York. See 16 October 1942 and 28 May 1943.
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November 4, 1943: The North Star, a film with music by Aaron Copland (42), is shown for the first time, in New York.
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November 22, 1943: The Boston Symphony Orchestra gives an all-Russian concert in Carnegie Hall, New York which includes The Internationale arranged by Aaron Copland (43).
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January 17, 1944: Sonata for violin and piano by Aaron Copland (43) is performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York, the composer at the keyboard.
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May 7, 1944: A suite from music for the film Our Town by Aaron Copland (43) is performed for the first time, in Boston, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (25).
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October 17, 1944: Aaron Copland’s (43) work for chamber orchestra Letter from Home is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the ABC radio network, originating in New York.
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October 30, 1944: Three new ballets are performed for the first time, in the Library of Congress, Washington to celebrate the 80th birthday of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge: Jeux de printemps (six excerpts for chamber orchestra) op.243 by Darius Milhaud (52), Hérodiade, an orchestral recitation after Mallarmé by Paul Hindemith (48), and Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland (43) to a scenario by Graham. See 7 May 1945, 4 October 1945, and 11 December 1945.
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March 14, 1945: A reception in honor of the visiting Heitor Villa-Lobos (58) takes place in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York. Among those attending are composers Aaron Copland (44), Cole Porter, Sigmund Romberg, and Morton Gould; conductors Walter Damrosch, Arthur Rodzinski, Leopold Stokowski, George Szell, Arturo Toscanini, and Eugene Ormandy; singers Marian Anderson, Bidú Sayão, and Ezio Pinza; instrumentalists Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington (45), Joseph Szigeti, Claudio Arrau, Yehudi Menhuin, and José Iturbi; as well as Fiorello La Guardia, Deems Taylor, and Nelson Rockefeller.
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March 23, 1945: Variations on a Theme by Goosens is performed for the first time, in Cincinnati. The theme is followed by variations from Paul Creston, Aaron Copland (44), Deems Taylor, Howard Hanson (48), William Schuman (34), Walter Piston (51), Roy Harris (47), Bernard Rogers (52), Ernst Bloch (64) and Eugene Goosens.
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May 7, 1945: Aaron Copland (44) wins the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Appalachian Spring. See 30 October 1944.
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October 4, 1945: A symphonic suite from the ballet Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland (44) is performed for the first time, in New York. See 30 October 1944.
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November 18, 1945: Aaron Copland (45) chairs the music panel of the First Conference on American-Soviet Cultural Cooperation.
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December 17, 1945: William Schuman (35) offers Aaron Copland (45) a teaching position at the Juilliard School. See 2 January 1946.
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January 2, 1946: Aaron Copland (45) writes to William Schuman (35) trying to negotiate a more flexible teaching position at the Juilliard School than the one Schuman offered. See 10 January 1946.
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January 10, 1946: Aaron Copland (45) returns the invitation to teach at the Juilliard School offered by William Schuman (35), at Schuman’s request. See 17 December 1945.
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February 17, 1946: An orchestral arrangement of the two-piano work Danzón cubano by Aaron Copland (45) is performed for the first time, in Baltimore. See 9 December 1942.
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October 18, 1946: Symphony no.3 by Aaron Copland (45) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston.
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May 2, 1947: Two new works commissioned by Harvard University to accompany a symposium on music criticism are performed for the first time, at the Harvard University Memorial Church: Apparebit repentina Dies for chorus and brass by Paul Hindemith (51) to an anonymous eighth century text, and In the Beginning for mezzo-soprano and chorus by Aaron Copland (46) to words from the Bible.
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June 19, 1947: Aaron Copland (46) and Elliott Carter (38) meet with Conlon Nancarrow (34) in Mexico City. During the stay of Carter and his wife, Copland will also take them to El Salón Mexico.
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August 19, 1947: Aaron Copland (46) arrives in Rio de Janeiro for an extended tour of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
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February 28, 1948: A farewell concert in honor of Hanns Eisler (49) is presented in Town Hall, New York. Among those sponsoring the event are Walter Piston (54), Roger Sessions (51), Roy Harris (50), Aaron Copland (47), David Diamond (32), Leonard Bernstein (29), and Randall Thompson. Eisler will be deported next month.
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May 15, 1948: Aaron Copland (47) becomes chairman of the League of Composers in New York.
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October 30, 1948: An orchestral suite from music for the film The Red Pony by Aaron Copland (47) is performed for the first time, in Houston. See 8 March 1949.
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December 11, 1948: Irving Fine (34) writes to Aaron Copland (48) that Harvard University has decided against renewing his appointment. He thinks anti-Semitism was part of the decision.
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March 8, 1949: The Red Pony, a film with music by Aaron Copland (48), is shown for the first time, in the Mayfair Theatre, New York. See 30 October 1948.
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March 24, 1949: Dmitry Shostakovich (42) arrives in New York as part of a three-man Soviet delegation to the “Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace” held under the auspices of the National Council of Arts, Sciences, and Professions. They are met by 70 cameramen and reporters.  Aaron Copland (48) is the only composer allowed to meet him at the airport. During the conference, Shostakovich delivers a speech (actually by an interpreter in his name) attacking the west.
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March 27, 1949: Aaron Copland (48) addresses the Waldorf Peace Conference in New York on “The Effect of the Cold War on the Artist in the United States.” He laments the current practice of having to choose between “the mass-appeal music of a Shostakovich (42) and the musical radicalism of a Schoenberg (74).”
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April 4, 1949: The issue of Life magazine dated today includes an article on the Waldorf Peace Conference, including photos of Aaron Copland (48) and Dmitri Shostakovich (42). The magazine tells its readers that the sponsoring group, the National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions is “dominated by intellectuals who fellow-travel the communist line.” Copland’s picture is placed under the words “Dupes and Fellow Travelers Dress Up Communist Fronts.”
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April 19, 1949: The US House Un-American Activities Committee releases its report on the Waldorf Conference recently held in New York featuring Aaron Copland (48), Marc Blitzstein (44), Dmitri Shostakovich (42), Leonard Bernstein (30), and Lukas Foss (26). It lists names of the participants and describes the “threat” posed by the conference which they call “a supermobilization of inveterate wheelhorses and supporters of the Communist Party and its auxiliary organizations...”
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August 14, 1949: Aaron Copland (48) is driving in Richmond, Massachusetts, near Tanglewood, with Irving Fine (34) and his wife. In another car are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Berger (37). Copland accidentally runs into and kills a cow, destroying his car in the process. All survive in tact (except for the cow), but when the police arrive they arrest Copland and hold him until he is bailed out of jail at 02:00 by Fine. Copland will be charged with “operating to endanger” and fined $35 for the cow.
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September 11, 1949: In Virgil Thomson’s (52) column in the New York Herald-Tribune, Arnold Schoenberg (74) states that Aaron Copland (48) has made “malicious statements” about him, comparing Copland with Stalin. Ironically, Copland is simultaneously composing his Piano Quartet, his first to employ serial techniques.
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September 25, 1949: Aaron Copland’s (48) response to Arnold Schoenberg’s (75) letter published 11 September appears in the New York Herald-Tribune. He denies he ever tried to suppress Schoenberg’s music and heaps praise upon him. Copland then chides Virgil Thomson (52) for defending him so weakly.
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October 6, 1949: The Heiress, a film with music by Aaron Copland (48), is shown for the first time, in Radio City Music Hall, New York.
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December 10, 1949: Preamble for a Solemn Occasion for speaker and orchestra by Aaron Copland (49), commissioned by NBC for the first anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is performed for the first time, in New York, Leonard Bernstein (31) conducting. The speaker is Laurence Olivier.
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February 13, 1950: Aaron Copland (49) writes a conciliatory letter to Arnold Schoenberg (75).
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February 21, 1950: After trading insults in the New York Herald Tribune, Arnold Schoenberg (75) in Los Angeles, writes to Aaron Copland (49) in New York, stating “I am always ready to live in peace.”
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March 13, 1950: Four Piano Blues by Aaron Copland (49) are performed completely for the first time, in Carl Fischer Hall, New York.
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March 23, 1950: Aaron Copland (49) wins an Academy Award® for his score to the film The Heiress, in Los Angeles.
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May 18, 1950: Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (49) is performed for the first time, at the McMillan Memorial Theatre, Columbia University, New York, the composer at the keyboard. The critics are not impressed.
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May 21, 1950: Leonard Bernstein (31) writes to Aaron Copland (49) that his efforts to convince Serge Koussevitzky to premiere Copland’s Clarinet Concerto at Tanglewood have come to naught. “Benny [Goodman] and Tanglewood don’t mix in his mind.”
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June 17, 1950: Old American Songs, Set I for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (49) is performed for the first time, at Aldeburgh by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (36). See 7 January 1955.
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July 5, 1950: A confidential informant tells the FBI that Aaron Copland (49) “has been a member of every communist front which expressed a change of line...”
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October 29, 1950: Quartet for piano and strings by Aaron Copland (49) is performed for the first time, at the Library of Congress, Washington.
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November 6, 1950: Concerto for clarinet and string orchestra with harp and piano by Aaron Copland (49) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the NBC radio network. The soloist is Benny Goodman.
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December 12, 1950: The name of Aaron Copland (50) is placed in the Prominent Individuals Subsection of the Security Index. These are American citizens who will be arrested without due process in the case of a national emergency. His name will be removed on 2 August 1955.
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December 23, 1950: Aaron Copland (50) leaves New York aboard the Queen Elizabeth for Rome with a Fulbright fellowship.
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January 1, 1951: Aaron Copland (50) arrives at the American Academy in Rome as composer-in-residence.
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April 21, 1951: Aaron Copland (50) conducts his In the Beginning in a concert on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, two kilometers from the Syrian border.
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November 13, 1951: Aaron Copland delivers his first lecture as Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard University, on the eve of his 51st birthday. His six lectures will be published in 1952 as Music and Imagination.
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December 4, 1951: The Pied Piper, a ballet to Aaron Copland’s (51) Clarinet Concerto choreographed by Jerome Robbins, is performed for the first time, at New York City Center.
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March 24, 1952: While Aaron Copland (51) and his sister Laurine are having lunch in another part of the city, their brother Ralph leaps from the 16th story of a Manhattan office building. The two were meeting to discuss Ralph’s personal problems. Copland will support Ralph’s widow for the rest of her life.
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January 3, 1953: The 83rd Congress of the United States convenes in Washington. The Republican Party of President-elect Eisenhower controls both houses. On the floor of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Fred E. Busbey (R-IL) complains about an upcoming performance of Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland (52) as part of festivities surrounding the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower as President of the United States. Busbey feels that Copland is too left wing.
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January 16, 1953: As part of the inaugural celebrations for Dwight Eisenhower, Aaron Copland’s (52) Lincoln Portrait is to be performed in a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington. Today it is announced that through the efforts of Congressman Fred E. Busbey (R-IL) the performance is cancelled because of the composer’s alleged association with “subversive” political organizations. In a statement released to the press, Copland says “My ‘politics’--tainted or untainted’--are certain to die with me, but my music, I am foolish enough to imagine, might just possibly outlive the Republican party.”
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January 31, 1953: After Aaron Copland’s (52) Lincoln Portrait is cancelled from inauguration festivities for Dwight Eisenhower because of the composer’s political views, eminent American historian Bruce Catton writes in The Nation: “So the Copland number was not heard, and if this was in the end something less than a fatal blow to the evil designs of the men in the Kremlin, it at least saved the assembled Republicans from being compelled to listen to Lincoln’s brooding words: ‘Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.’”
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February 19, 1953: US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles orders the removal from International Information Administration libraries and Voice of America broadcasts, any music by a communist or communist sympathizer. These include works by Aaron Copland (52), George Gershwin (†15), Roger Sessions (56), Virgil Thomson (56), Roy Harris (55), and Leonard Bernstein (34).
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March 7, 1953: Gurney Kennedy, Chairman of the Composer’s Forum Committee at the University of Alabama, who invited Aaron Copland (52) to take part in the forum, writes to the composer, “I regret to inform you that the recent allegations of Communist sympathies on your part...and the inaugural concert affair in Washington make it inadvisable for us to have you as our guest.”
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March 12, 1953: Aaron Copland (52) responds to Gurney Kennedy at the University of Alabama, “It makes clear that freedom of thought is endangered in America if a large university such as yours can be intimidated by the allegations of a single individual.” (Copland/Perlis 2012, 241) See 7 March 1953.
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May 22, 1953: Aaron Copland (52) receives the following telegram: “You are hereby directed to appear before this committee on Monday May twenty-fifth at 2:30 p.m.--Joe McCarthy, Chairman Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.”
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May 26, 1953: Aaron Copland (52) is interrogated for two hours in a private hearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman. As the questioning progresses, it becomes obvious that McCarthy wishes to use Copland to attack the United States Information Agency, which he is convinced is packed with Bolsheviks. Copland is told to be available for a public hearing soon. He will never be called.
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July 24, 1953: Old American Songs, Set II for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (52) is performed for the first time, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the composer at the piano. See 25 May 1955.
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August 19, 1953: Aaron Copland (52) submits an affidavit to the FBI, denying any past or present membership in the Communist Party.
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February 3, 1954: Aaron Copland (53) resigns from the Workers’ Musical Association, the last leftist group he belongs to.
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April 1, 1954: The Tender Land, an opera by Aaron Copland (53) to words of Everett (pseud. of Johns), is performed for the first time, at the New York City Center. Jerome Robbins creates the staging. The public is enthusiastic but the press is mixed.
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December 16, 1954: Aaron Copland (54) is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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January 7, 1955: Old American Songs, Set I for voice and orchestra by Aaron Copland (49) is performed for the first time, in Los Angeles. See 17 June 1950.
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March 28, 1955: Dirge in Woods for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (54) to words of Meredith, written for Nadia Boulanger (67) on the occasion of her 50th anniversary year as a teacher, is performed publicly for the first time, in Carnegie Hall.
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May 8, 1955: Canticle of Freedom for chorus and orchestra by Aaron Copland (54) to words of Barbour, is performed for the first time, in Kresge Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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May 25, 1955: Old American Songs, Set II for voice and orchestra by Aaron Copland (52) is performed for the first time, in Ojai, California, the composer conducting. See 24 July 1953.
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August 2, 1955: The name of Aaron Copland (54) is removed from the Security Index. He is no longer due to be arrested by the US government in case of national emergency.
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November 30, 1955: William Tompkins, assistant Attorney General of the United States, concludes that there is “insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution” of Aaron Copland (55) for his political beliefs.
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February 21, 1957: Aaron Copland (56) departs New York to attend the second Latin American Music Festival in Caracas.
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March 16, 1957: Joaquín Rodrigo (55) and his wife arrive in Caracas for the second Latin American Music Festival. Also attending are Virgil Thomson (60) and Aaron Copland (56).
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October 25, 1957: Piano Fantasy by Aaron Copland (56), commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Juilliard School, is performed for the first time, in the Juilliard Concert Hall.
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November 10, 1957: Incidental music to the television program The World of Nick Adams by Aaron Copland (56) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the CBS television network.
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February 1, 1958: Aaron Copland (57) conducts on television for the first time, sharing a program with Leonard Bernstein (39) and the New York Philharmonic.
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March 5, 1958: Orchestral Variations by Aaron Copland (57), a transcription of his Piano Variations, is performed for the first time, in Louisville. Expressions of displeasure are heard at the end.
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April 10, 1958: An orchestral suite from Aaron Copland’s (57) opera The Tender Land is performed for the first time, in Orchestra Hall, Chicago.
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November 15, 1959: A television program called “Aaron Copland meets the Soviet Composers” is shown for the first time, over the airwaves of WGBH television in Boston. It is a discussion between Copland (59), Nicholas Slonimsky, five visiting Soviet composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich (53), and the Soviet musicologist Boris Yarustovsky.
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December 20, 1959: In a memorable evening in New York, Igor Stravinsky (77) conducts a performance of his Les Noces. The four pianists are Roger Sessions (62), Aaron Copland (59), Samuel Barber (49) and Lukas Foss (37). Premiered this evening is Stravinsky’s (76) Double Canon for string quartet.
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January 28, 1960: Elliott Carter (51) writes to the State Department, declining an invitation to travel to the USSR with Aaron Copland (59), and Norman Dello Joio (47).
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March 15, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) arrive in Moscow, representing the United States as part of a cultural exchange program.
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March 18, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) depart Moscow and fly to Tbilisi.
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March 20, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) fly back to Moscow from Tbilisi.
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March 22, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) meet with six young composers at the Composers’ Union, Moscow. Among them is Arvo Pärt (24). Copland tells his journal, “…shows considerable natural gift in his Partita for piano, tho’ the piece doesn’t quite add up.” (Bartig, 583)
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March 25, 1960: The first rehearsal of the Soviet tour of Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) takes place in Bolshoy Hall of Moscow Conservatory. The program is the Symphony no.3 of Aaron Copland, Piano Concerto no.2 of Lukas Foss, the composer as soloist, and Symphony no.9 of Dmitri Shostakovich (53). At the conclusion, Copland presents Shostakovich with honorary membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
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March 26, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) again meet with young Soviet composers and hear their music, including the oratorio Nagasaki by Alfred Schnittke (25). In the evening they dine at the home of Dmitri Shostakovich (53). Foss and Dmitri Kabalevsky play a Haydn symphony four-hands on the piano.
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March 28, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) arrive by train in Riga from Moscow.
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April 1, 1960: In the second concert of their Soviet tour, in the Great Hall of the Latvian State University in Riga, Aaron Copland (59) conducts his suites from Rodeo and The Tender Land. Lukas Foss (37) directs his Ode for Symphonic Orchestra and Francesca da Rimini by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (†66). The audience receives them warmly.
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April 2, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) hear a Latvian folk ensemble and a 15-piece jazz band. “The jazz group had not one iota of originality, but, the degree of imitation was deeply flattering to America by implication.” (Bartig, 590)
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April 3, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) arrive in Leningrad.
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April 4, 1960: While walking the Nevsky Prospekt in Leningrad at night, Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) are approached by two Russian jazz musicians who recognize them from pictures in the media. They have a very lively conversation as they walk the visitors back to their hotel. “They knew everyone, except Ornette Coleman.” (Bartig, 592) Copland and Foss present them with three recordings, Lennie Tristano, Gerry Mulligan, and the Modern Jazz Quartet.
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April 7, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) perform in the Bolshoy Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic. Foss directs his Symphony of Chorales and Copland his Statements and the suite from The Red Pony.
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April 9, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) return to Moscow from Leningrad by train.
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April 10, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) give the final performance of their tour of the Soviet Union. The Violin Sonata of Copland and the String Quartet no.1 of Foss are on the program. Copland is the pianist for his Piano Quartet. Finally, Sviatoslav Richter plays the Piano Sonata no.6 of Sergey Prokofiev (†7).
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April 11, 1960: Aaron Copland (59) and Lukas Foss (37) depart Moscow on a flight to Amsterdam.
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November 12, 1960: Aaron Copland appears on Leonard Bernstein’s (42) network television program “Young People’s Concerts”. It is part of celebrations surrounding Copland’s 60th birthday.
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March 2, 1961: Nonet for Strings by Aaron Copland (60) is performed for the first time, at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, conducted by the composer. It is dedicated to Nadia Boulanger (73) “after forty years of friendship.”
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August 19, 1961: Aaron Copland (60) is awarded the MacDowell Medal in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He receives a congratulatory telegram from President John Kennedy.
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November 13, 1961: Pablo Casals gives a recital at the White House before President and Mrs. Kennedy and 200 invited guests. Among those attending are the elite of the musical culture of the United States: Walter Piston (67), Howard Hanson (65), Virgil Thomson (64), Roger Sessions (64), Henry Cowell (64), Roy Harris (63), Aaron Copland (60), Elliott Carter (52), Samuel Barber (51), William Schuman (51), Alan Hovhaness (50), Gian Carlo Menotti (50), Norman Dello Joio (48), Leonard Bernstein (43), Eugene Ormandy, and Leopold Stokowski. The concert is recorded and will be televised. Bernstein will recall “I’ve never seen so many happy artists in my life.”
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December 23, 1961: Something Wild, a film with music by Aaron Copland (61), is shown for the first time, in New York. Carol Baker, the movie’s star and wife of the director Jack Garfein, pledged a role to United Artists to pay for whatever the film goes over budget. They think Copland is too pricey.
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May 13, 1962: Piece for Piano and 16 Instruments by Stefan Wolpe (59) is performed for the first time, at the New School, New York conducted by Ralph Shapey (41). Also premiered are Shapey's Dimensions for soprano and 23 instruments and Chamber Concerto by Arthur Berger (49). Shapey will remember it as one of the most exciting days of his life. In the audience are Edgar Varèse (76), Aaron Copland (61), Elliott Carter (53), Milton Babbitt (46), Erich Leinsdorf, Harold Rosenburg, Dore Ashton, Jack Tworkove, and Willem de Kooning. It is a great success.
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August 24, 1962: A funeral service in memory of Irving Fine takes place at the Leah and Mendel Berlin Memorial Chapel of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Among those attending are Aaron Copland (61), Arthur Berger (50), Leonard Bernstein (43), Leon Kirchner (43), and Richard Wernick (28). His mortal remains are then laid to rest in Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, Massachusetts.
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September 23, 1962: Connotations for orchestra by Aaron Copland (61) is performed for the first time, at the inauguration of Lincoln Center, directed by Leonard Bernstein (44). The concert is televised by the CBS television network. Among the attenders are composers Walter Piston (68), Roger Sessions (65), Henry Cowell (65), Roy Harris (64), Samuel Barber (52) and the Center’s director, William Schuman (52), along with Rudolf Bing, Isaac Stern, Secretary-General of the United Nations U Thant, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and New York Mayor Robert Wagner.
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December 3, 1963: Dance Panels in Seven Movements by Aaron Copland (63) is performed for the first time, in the National Opera Theatre, Munich.
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May 26, 1964: Music for a Great City by Aaron Copland (63), commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the London Symphony Orchestra, is performed for the first time, in London conducted by the composer.
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September 14, 1964: In a White House ceremony, President Johnson confers the Medal of Freedom on 30 Americans, including Aaron Copland (63), TS Eliot, Helen Keller, Willem de Kooning, Leontyne Price, Carl Sandburg, and John Steinbeck.
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November 20, 1964: Down a Country Lane for school orchestra by Aaron Copland (64) is performed for the first time, in London.
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December 18, 1964: Emblems for symphonic band by Aaron Copland (64) is performed for the first time, in Tempe, Arizona.
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April 20, 1965: Two Mexican Pieces for orchestra by Aaron Copland (64) is performed for the first time, in Washington. See 7 June 1972.
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August 17, 1965: During a concert at the Tanglewood Music Festival, conductor Erich Leinsdorf announces the retirement of Aaron Copland (64) from the Berkshire Music Center, to be replaced by Gunther Schuller (39).
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July 15, 1966: In a production of Igor Stravinsky’s (84) L’histoire du soldat at Lincoln Center, New York, conducted by Lukas Foss (43), Elliott Carter (57) plays the soldier, John Cage (53) plays the Devil, and Aaron Copland (65) is the narrator. Stravinsky, who is in the audience, tells Cage: “You are the only sensible composer I know--You don’t write any notes.”
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January 29, 1967: The CBS Playhouse signature tune composed by Aaron Copland (66) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the network.
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September 13, 1967: Inscape for orchestra by Aaron Copland (66) is performed for the first time, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the direction of Leonard Bernstein (49).
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June 14, 1969: Inauguration Fanfare by Aaron Copland (68) is performed for the first time, at the unveiling of a stabile by Alexander Calder in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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January 24, 1970: As part of a celebration of the 70th birthday of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy, Variations on Happy Birthday by several composers is performed for the first time, in Philadelphia. Among those contributing variations are Aaron Copland (69) and Samuel Barber (59). President Nixon awards conductor Eugene Ormandy the Medal of Freedom.
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November 14, 1970: On his 70th birthday, Aaron Copland’s Ceremonial Fanfare for brass is performed for the first time, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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May 5, 1971: At a meeting of the executive committee of the Naumburg Foundation, which includes Aaron Copland (70) and William Schuman (60), chairman Peter Menin (47) makes a presentation of agenda and budget issues which Schuman calls “amateursville.” The committee retires to a dinner meeting of the entire board where Menin immediately resigns.
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August 8, 1971: William Schuman (61) is presented with the MacDowell medal in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The presentation address is given by Aaron Copland (70).
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October 3, 1971: Duo for flute and piano by Aaron Copland (70) is performed for the first time, in Philadelphia.
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April 6, 1972: On the first anniversary of the death of Igor Stravinsky, two works in his honor are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio 3 England: Threnody I (originally Threnody Igor Stravinsky: In memoriam) for flute and string trio by Aaron Copland (71), and Canon in memoriam Igor Stravinsky (recorded 20 March 1972) for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet by Peter Maxwell Davies (37). See 17 June 1972.
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June 7, 1972: Three Latin American Sketches for chamber orchestra by Aaron Copland (71) is performed completely for the first time, in New York.
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June 2, 1973: Orpheus for violin or viola or cello and orchestra by Lukas Foss (50) is performed for the first time, in Ojai, California. On the same program is the premiere of Threnody II: Beatrice Cunningham in memoriam for alto flute, two violins, viola, and cello by Aaron Copland (72).
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September 30, 1973: Night Thoughts (Homage to Ives) for piano by Aaron Copland (72) is performed for the first time, in Ft. Worth, Texas.
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January 13, 1978: Midsummer Nocturne for piano by Aaron Copland (77) is performed for the first time, in Cleveland.
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December 2, 1979: Aaron Copland (79) receives a Kennedy Center Honor along with Tennessee Williams, Martha Graham, Henry Fonda, and Ella Fitzgerald.
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November 22, 1980: The first of the Trois Esquisses for piano entitled Amertune by Aaron Copland (80) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Space, New York 60 years after it was composed.
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September 30, 1981: Reprising his 1966 performance, Aaron Copland (80) appears as the Narrator in a production of Igor Stravinsky’s (†10) L’histoire du soldat at the Whitney Museum. Roger Sessions (84) plays the part of the soldier and appearing as the Devil is Virgil Thomson (84).
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December 7, 1982: Aaron Copland (82) makes his last appearance as a conductor, with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He directs two of his early works: An Outdoor Overture and Symphony for Organ and Orchestra.
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February 28, 1983: Two piano pieces by Aaron Copland (82) are performed for the first time, in New York: Midday Thoughts and Proclamation for Piano .
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March 16, 1983: Improvistation for AC, a birthday piece for Aaron Copland (82) for piano by Arthur Berger (70), is performed for the first time, in Jordan Hall, Boston.
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October 18, 1984: Lento espressivo for string quartet by Aaron Copland (83) is performed for the first time, in New York 60 years after it was composed.
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December 6, 1984: Alone, a song for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (84) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York, over 60 years after he composed it.
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October 26, 1985: Aaron Copland’s (84) Sonnet II for piano is performed for the first time, in New York approximately 66 years after it was composed.
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November 14, 1985: Proclamation (1982) by Aaron Copland, orchestrated by Ramey, is performed for the first time, in New York on the composer’s 85th birthday.
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December 4, 1985: Alone, a song for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (85) to words of Mathers, is performed for the first time, in New York 63 years after it was composed.
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November 1, 1986: By act of Congress, Aaron Copland (85) is awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest congressional honor awarded to civilians.
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November 4, 1986: Three Songs for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (85) to words of Schaffer are performed for the first time, in Austin, Texas, 68 years after they were composed.
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December 2, 1990: Aaron Copland dies of respiratory failure following pneumonia and two strokes, in Phelps Memorial Hospital, North Tarrytown, New York, USA, aged 90 years and 18 days. The ashes of his mortal remains will be buried on the grounds at Tanglewood.
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April 29, 1991: The first meeting of the board of the Aaron Copland (†0) Fund for Music takes place in New York. The board members, named by Copland in his will, include Elliott Carter (82), William Schuman (80), Arthur Berger (78), Jacob Druckman (62), and David Del Tredici (54). Jacob Druckman is chosen as president.
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June 20, 1992: Grohg, a ballet by Aaron Copland (†1) to a scenario by Clurman, is performed for the first time, in London. The work was composed between 1922 and 1925.
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May 21, 1995: A Piano Sonata in G by Aaron Copland (†4) is performed for the first time, in Washington, 74 years after it was composed.
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May 5, 2003: The United States Senate makes public secret testimony of almost 500 individuals before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Governmental Affairs Committee in the 1950s, among them Aaron Copland (†12).