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Aaron Copland:
Copland's Cowboy Ballets

Copland’s first cowboy ballet was Billy the Kid, about the notorious outlaw who lived in the American Southwest in the late 1800’s. Then, choreographer (a choreographer is a person who invents dance moves) Agnes de Mille convinced Copland to write a second cowboy ballet -- Rodeo.

Music heard in this episode:
Copland: Excerpts from Billy the Kid, including “Goodbye, Old Paint”
Copland: Excerpts from Rodeo, including “Buckaroo Holiday” and “Hoedown”

Other shows about Aaron Copland:
About Aaron Copland
Agnes de Mille
Classical Music in Commercials
What is a Fanfare
About Aaron Copland
Tiptoe Through the Fanfare
What's in a Name
Classical Music in Pop

Download this month's activity sheet

About Aaron Copland
11/14/1900 - 12/2/1990
Born in America

Aaron Copland is one of the most famous American composers of all time. Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, and went to France as a teenager to study music with Nadia Boulanger, who helped Copland create his own style.

Copland wrote music with a very "American" sound. Some of his most famous pieces are his ballets -- Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. Billy the Kid and Rodeo are about the Wild West. Copland also wrote music for movies -- Of Mice and Men and Our Town, among others.

One of Copland's best known compostions is Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland wrote it after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra asked several composers to write fanfares during World War II. Copland's music has become a great part of American history.

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. How many of Aaron Coplands ballets were set in the Wild West?






2.Where was Billy the Kid born?

Kansas City



New York

San Francisco

3. What is the name of the cowboy ballet Copland wrote for Agnes de Mille?

Billy the Kid

Appalachian Spring

Rite of Spring

Swan Lake



Aaron Copland
"Hoe-Down" from Rodeo

Composed in 1942
Performed by Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Stephen Gunzenhauser, conductor

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