October 27, 2000 Fanfares and Free Concerts Highlight Copland Centennial Celebration at Library of Congress

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Website: Copland Web Site

The Library of Congress honors one of America's most beloved composers, Aaron Copland (1900-1990), in November with a weeklong celebration featuring two concerts of Copland's music, newly commissioned fanfares, a symposium, a live radio broadcast and cybercast, the launching of the Library's new Aaron Copland Web site and a display of Copland memorabilia. As the institution that commissioned one of Copland's most famous works, the Library's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Copland's birth is particularly appropriate.

Aaron Copland is one of the giants of 20th century music. His relationship with the Library began in the early 1940s when the Library commissioned and subsequently premiered Martha Graham's legendary ballet, Appalachian Spring, danced to the composer's original 13-instrument music score. The ballet received the 1945 New York Music Critics Circle Award for dramatic music, and an orchestral suite derived from the score won a Pulitzer Prize in music the same year. Copland's early works utilized elements of jazz within a symphonic structure; later works incorporated Mexican popular songs (in El Salón México, his first major success) and American folk tunes and cowboy melodies (Billy the Kid and Rodeo as well as Appalachian Spring). Other works include Fanfare for the Common Man, A Lincoln Portrait, his Clarinet Concerto and Third Symphony.

The Library's Copland Centennial Celebration begins at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14 -- the anniversary of Copland's birth -- when the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performs a free concert of Copland music in the Coolidge Auditorium. The concert will be broadcast live around the world by National Public Radio in two versions: as a special one-hour edition of "Talk of the Nation" and a special two-hour presentation of "Performance Today." The concert will feature a new fanfare by composer Roberto Sierra, commissioned by the McKim Fund, one of four newly commissioned fanfares by the Library of Congress. The other three, by David Diamond, Lukas Foss, and Tania León will be premiered on Saturday, November 18, in the Library's Great Hall at 5:45 p.m., before the concert of Copland works by Music from the Copland House, a chamber ensemble that takes its name from the residence where Copland spent his last 30 years. That concert is at 6 p.m., in the Coolidge Auditorium.

Also on Saturday, at 2 p.m., the Library will host a free symposium, "Copland at the Millennium." Yale University professor Vivian Perlis, author H. Wiley Hitchcock, and other noted Copland scholars will discuss the composer in relation to such topics as dance, politics, and the American West. The symposium requires no tickets and will be held in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E.

Free tickets for the Copland concerts are being distributed by TicketMaster at (301) 808-6900 or (410) 752-1200, for a nominal service charge of $2 per ticket, with additional charges for phone orders and handling. Tickets are also available at TicketMaster outlets. Although the supply of tickets may be exhausted, there are often empty seats at concert time. Interested patrons are encouraged to come to the Library an hour and a half before concert time to try to obtain no-show tickets at the door.

A small display of Copland memorabilia will be displayed in the foyer of the Coolidge Auditorium during the week of the Copland celebration. The memorabilia come from the Library's Aaron Copland Collection, which contains music manuscripts, correspondence, publications, photographs and other materials. This collection is the primary resource for research on Copland on musical life in 20th century America, particularly from the 1920s through the 1960s. In addition, the Library will launch a new Copland Web site on the composer's birthday, November 14.

The Copland Centennial Celebration is part of the Library's "I Hear America Singing" celebration, a three-year series of concerts, commissions, recordings, and educational programs that explore the breadth and significance of music in America from Colonial days to the end of the 20th century. The "I Hear America Singing" series will conclude in 2001.


PR 00-159
ISSN 0731-3527