Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, July 31, 1942.
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July 31, 1942
Dear Mrs. Coolidge:
Thank you for your letter and for the offer of a commission for a Martha Graham dance score. I am, in principle, happy to accept. I have been an admirer of Miss Graham's work for many years and I have more than once hoped that we might collaborate. It particularly pleases me that you should make this possible, and also that I should be invited to take part as composer in celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historic Pittsfield Festivals.
However, this being a stage work, I think it would be wiser for me to contact Miss Graham before definitely committing myself. For example, I ought to know the subject matter of the dance piece, how long it should be, set for how many instruments, how soon it must be ready, etc. Also, since this is a stage work, I would have to assume that the commission of $500. covered only the composing of the work especially for the Festival occasion. Miss Graham and I would have to work out performance fees for her use of the work subsequent to the premiere. As soon as these details are arranged, I shall write to Dr. Spivacke in order to formally accept the commission from the Foundation.
In the meantime, please accept my appreciation of your extraordinary efforts for contemporary music in our country, and my sincere thanks for being invited to take part in the celebration of your unique contribution.
Yours most cordially,
[signed] Aaron Copland