Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990) was born in Brooklyn New York, his father having emigrated from Russia. His contact with music came from his mother and his sister, and he received lessons from childhood. He was performing from an early age and, becoming interested in composition, he studied harmony, theory, and composition privately.
He developed a distinctly American style of composition, and is best known for the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and for his Fanfare for the Common Man (the latter, on commission, was composed to dignify the men who lay their lives on the line for their country - he later incorporated it into his third symphony which celebrated the allied victory)

He travelled extensively to Europe, Africa and Mexico. He got the inspiration in the latter country for his El Salón México which brought him international fame.

His range of output was extensive with concertos, symphonies, jazz and film scores (his score for the film The North Star was nominated for an Academy Award, and he won the award for The Heiress.)
He was a recipient of many awards in his lifetime, and he was a great supporter of young musicians and composers during his career, leaving left much of his state to the creation of the Aaron Copland Fund for Composers.

When at home, Copland was a modest and mild-mannered man, but his political interests got him into trouble with the authorities although he denied ever being a communist.

Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

Rodeo is an orchestral score of the ballet Rodeo, which is set on a typically Western ranch. The leading lady is a cowgirl struggling to be taken seriously in a man’s world. She strongly fancies the ranch foreman but he only has eyes for the ranch owner’s daughter. Included are many beautiful, recognisable tunes, culminating in the famous Hoedown – where the now-dressed-up cowgirl catches the foreman’s eye. However she chooses the only one of the cowboys who had treated her with any kindness.

This proved a popular test piece for the flutes and has been performed many times since at Own Choice and Entertainment Contests.