Copland, Aaron

1900 - 1990

U.S. composer who used American themes in an expressive modern style, sometimes employing jazz rhythms.

Copland was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, grew up in New York, and found his musical voice in the international, avant-garde atmosphere of Paris in the 1920s. He returned to a New York that was in the midst of an artistic and social revival, and he immediately became a part of that renewal.


Gershwin, George

1898 - 1937

American composer whose musical works are based on the melodies of American popular music blended in various degrees with jazz rhythms.

Gershwin was born in New York to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. In 1916, he started recording and arranging piano rolls. He produced dozens, if not hundreds, of rolls.

This was followed by several pieces, which introduced the standard "I Got Rhythm". In 1924, Gershwin composed his first major classical work, "Rhapsody in Blue" for orchestra and piano.

Gershwin stayed in Paris for a short period, while there, he wrote "An American in Paris".

His most ambitious composition was "Porgy and Bess" (1935). Called by Gershwin himself a "folk opera," the piece premiered in a Broadway theater and is now widely regarded as the most important American opera of the twentieth century.

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