The Aaron Copland Collection ca. 1900-1990


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Aaron Copland Timeline: 1900-1990



November 14: Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of five children born to Harris Morris Copland, a department store owner, and his wife, Sarah Mittenthal Copland.


Began his formal musical training by taking private piano lessons with Leopold Wolfsohn in Brooklyn, New York. He continued to study with Wolfsohn until 1918.


In the fall of 1917, began his study of harmony and counterpoint with Rubin Goldmark, who had studied at the Vienna Conservatory and later in New York with Dvoák and became head of the Composition Department at the Juilliard School of Music at its founding (1924). At Goldmark's suggestion, Copland subsequently studied piano with Victor Wittgenstein and in 1919 began piano lessons with the well-known pedagogue Clarence Adler. During the four years of his studies with Goldmark (until the spring of 1921), Copland composed numerous short pieces of musical juvenilia for piano or piano and another instrument or voice.


Graduated in June from Boys’ High School, Brooklyn, and decided not to go to college. Instead, he found jobs playing piano: first at the Finnish Socialist Hall and then during the summers in the Catskill Mountains of New York until his departure for France.


Harris and Sarah Copland

descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  [Detail] Aaron Copland's parents, Harris and Sarah Copland, 1922.
Music Division, Library of Congress.

Aaron Copland and Clarence Adler sitting outside

descriptive record icon enlarge image icon [Detail] Aaron Copland and Clarence Adler at Lake Placid, 1925.
Music Division, Library of Congress.