On December 2, 1990, composer Aaron Copland died at the age of 90.
Born in Brooklyn to Polish and Lithuanian immigrant parents, Copland left for France to study piano at age 21, and returned to America with a sense of mission, as he told "Sunday Morning" in 1985:
"It became my preoccupation in the '20s and '30s to write a concert music that anyone could recognize [as] having been written by an American," he said.
It was a mission he more than accomplished in the nearly 70 years that followed.
He transformed the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" into a rousing portion of his ballet, "Appalachian Spring."
[It later became the theme for the documentary series "CBS Reports."]
And he gave musical voice to his love of country in his anthem, "Fanfare for the Common Man."
Today, the works of Aaron Copland – that most un-common man – are celebrated at Copland House, his former home north of New York City, now a center for music with its own resident ensemble, who joined "Sunday Morning" to perform Copland's own piano and violin arrangement of the "Hoe Down" section of the ballet "Rodeo."
For more info:
- Aaron Copland House
- The Aaron Copland Fund for Music
- Aaron Copland Collection at the Library of Congress
Story produced by Justin Hayter.