His music is present in American TV commercials, as well as in popular Hollywood movies. Aaron Copland, who would have been 100 years old on November 14, is considered a flagship among American composers, having freed his country from the influence of European tradition. He mixed elements of jazz, Latin-American rhythms, and sometimes tunes he had heard in synagogues when he was a boy. Being the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants, Copland belonged to a generation of Americas who brought their European heritage while becoming symbolic of America, the melting pot. Today, he is often named in the same breath as George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein who also were the sons of Russian Jews, and who also helped America find its own musical language. Copland's output includes three symphonies, two operas, a piano concerto, a clarinet concerto, more than a dozen pieces for piano solo, chamber music, and several film scores. Some of his best-known works bear American names such as "Appalachian Spring," "Rodeo," "Billy the Kid," and "Lincoln Portrait." Georg Hirsch is taking a look at Copland's work and his long life.
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