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10 Important Peoplehome

starMartha Graham
The legendary American choreographer who commissioned Appalachian Spring, which plays as decisive a role in her own career as it does in Copland's. Strangely, after Appalachian Spring, Copland and Graham never collaborate again.

Nadia Boulanger
Nadia Boulanger

star Nadia Boulanger
Copland's music teacher in France was a legendary musician named Nadia Boulanger. Boulanger had a special interest in American musicians - in the 1910s she developed the conviction that American music was about to "take off," in the way that Russian music had in the generation of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

As it turned out, Boulanger was right. It was the generation of Copland, Gershwin and their contemporaries who produced much of what we consider the classic American repertoire

star Leonard Bernstein
They were friends, fellow composers, fellow conductors - their careers, as Copland biographer Howard Pollock says, are "inextricably linked." Copland was a musical idol to the younger Bernstein (Bernstein called Copland "the only composition teacher I ever had.") As a conductor, Bernstein promoted Copland's music, and is usually considered the finest of all Copland conductors.

star Rubin Goldmark
Copland's first important teacher; a nephew of the composer Karl Goldmark and a student of Dvorak.

When Antonin Dvorak came to America to teach in the 1890s, there were high hopes that he would train a generation of important American composers. In the event, it took one more generation. Rubin Goldmark didn't become a great composer, but his students - Copland and George Gershwin - went on to make their mark

star Victor Kraft
American violinist, who was probably the most important romantic attachment of Copland's life. El Salon Mexico is dedicated to him. Their relationship lasted from 1932 to the mid-'40s; Copland stood by Kraft even after their break-up, during Kraft's marriage and mental illness.

star Serge Koussevitzky
This Russian-born conductor of the Boston Symphony was a crusader on behalf of Copland and other contemporary American composers; he is supposed to have said, "The next Beethoven vill from Colorado come!" He commissioned the Third Symphony and also founded the Tanglewood Festival and invited Copland to join its faculty.

star Harold Clurman
Clurman and Copland met as young expatriates in Paris. Their friendship was probably the longest and deepest of Copland's life. Clurman would become one of the greatest American theater directors, working with O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Clifford Odets, and Tennessee Williams.

Virgil Thompson
Virgil Thompson

star Virgil Thompson
As young men, American composer Thomson and Copland are close friends, and comrades-in-arms in propagandizing for new music. When Copland turns to his "American" style in the '30s, Thomson's earlier work in the same vein is one of the sources.

star Carlos Chavez
One of Copland's closest friends among composers. Chavez played a role in Mexican music similar to Copland's in the United States, as a teacher, administrator, and unofficial composer laureate.

star Minna Lederman
Editor of Modern Music, one of the most important magazines in the contemporary music world in the mid-20th century. Lederman featured Copland and his writings in Modern Music; in turn, he brought in composers such as Thomson, Roger Sessions, Elliott Carter, and John Cage.

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