Selected Bibliographies

Compiled by Jennifer DeLapp-Birkett
Copland presenting a lecture at the Interlochen Arts Academy, 1967. Photo copyright ARTICA – The Archives of Interlochen Center for the Arts; used by permission.

Writings By Copland

  • Aaron Copland: A Reader: Selected Writings, 1923-1972. Edited by Richard Kostelanetz. New York: Routledge, 2004. More...
    Contains both reprinted and previously unpublished material including autobiographical sketches, Copland’s commentary on five of his predecessors and more than ten of his contemporaries, and his descriptions of thirty-one of his own compositions. Additional sections contain Copland’s writing about subjects including “Musical Experience,” “The Life of Music,” and “The Musician’s Life,” while the book closes with excerpts from his notebook, journals, letters, and an interview.
  • Music and Imagination. New York: Mentor Books, 1952.
  • Our New Music: Leading Composers in Europe and America. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1941.
  • The New Music: 1900-1960. Revised and Enlarged Edition. New York: W. W. Norton, 1969.
  • What to Listen For in Music. New York and London: McGraw-Hill, 1939.
  • The Selected Correspondence of Aaron Copland. Edited by Elizabeth Bergman Crist and Wayne D. Shirley. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006. More...
    Meticulous annotations and informed introductions make this career-spanning collection of Copland’s letters scholarly as well as entertaining.
  • Copland on Music. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1963. More...
    This collection reprints lectures and essays by Copland, many previously published in newspapers, magazines, and other sources, dating from 1926 through 1960.


  • Berger, Arthur. Aaron Copland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.
  • Smith, Julia. Aaron Copland: His Work and Contribution to American Music. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1955.
  • Copland, Aaron, and Vivian Perlis. Copland: 1900-1942. New York: St. Martin’s/Marek, 1984.
  • Copland, Aaron, and Vivian Perlis. Copland: Since 1943. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. More...
    The two-volume autobiography drawn from musicologist Vivian Perlis’s interviews with Copland, published with introduction and interludes by Perlis. Also included are excerpts from interviews with many other figures who knew Copland.
  • Copland, Aaron, and Vivian Perlis. The Complete Copland. Hillsdale, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 2013. More...
    An update in one volume of the original two-volume autobiography, reproducing their contents with only minor changes. In a new “Postlude” (pp 342-346) Perlis describes Copland’s final years, the donation of his papers to the Library of Congress, the celebrations and performances of the Copland Centenary year, and the founding in 1991 and subsequent activities of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
  • Pollack, Howard. Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Books on Copland topics

  • Aaron Copland and His World. Edited by Carol J. Oja and Judith Tick. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005. More...
    • Abrams, Emily. “Aaron Copland Meets the Soviet Composers:A Television Special.” 379-392.
    • Abrams, Emily. “Copland on Television: An Annotated List of Interviews and Documentaries.” 413-436.
    • Anderson, Paul. “‘To Become as Human as Possible’: The Influence of André Gide on Aaron Copland.” 47-79.
    • Antokoletz, Elliott. “Copland’s Gift to be Simple Within the Cumulative Mosaic Complexities of His Ballets.” 255-274.
    • Botstein, Leon. “Copland Reconfigured.” 439-483.
    • Brody, Martin. “Founding Sons: Copland, Sessions, and Berger on Genealogy and Hybridity. 15-43.
    • Crist, Elizabeth B. “Copland and the Politics of Americanism.” 277-306.
    • De Graaf, Melissa. “Aaron Copland and the Composers’ Forum-Laboratory: A Post-Concert Discussion, February 24, 1937.” 395-412.
    • Dickstein, Morris. “Copland and American Populism in the 1930s.” 81-100.
    • Garafola, Lynn. “Making an American Dance: Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring.” 121-147.
    • Lerner, Neil. “Aaron Copland, Norman Rockwell, and the ‘Four Freedoms’: The Office of War Information’s Vision and Sound in The Cummington Story (1945).” 351-377.
    • Levin, Gail. “From the New York Avant-Garde to Mexican Modernists: Aaron Copland and the Visual Arts.” 101-119.
    • Levy, Beth E. “From Orient to Occident: Aaron Copland and the Sagas of the Prairie.” 307-349.
    • Oja, Carol and Judith Tick. “Between Memory and History: An Introduction.” xv-xxi.
    • Perlis, Vivian. “Dear Aaron, Dear Lenny: A Friendship in Letters.” 151-178.
    • Pollack, Howard. “Copland and the Prophetic Voice.” 1-14.
    • Shirley, Wayne. “Aaron Copland and Arthur Berger in Correspondence.” 179-229.
    • Starr, Larry. “War Drums, Tolling Bells, and Copland’s Piano Sonata.” 233-254.
  • Copland Connotations: Studies and Interviews. Edited by Peter Dickinson. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002. More...
    • “Two Interviews with Aaron Copland (1976)” 187-198.
    • Banfield, Stephen, William Brooks, Anthony Burton, Peter Dickinson (chair), David Nicholls, Bayan Northcott and Arnold Whittall, “Open Forum Discussion” 175-184.
    • Banfield, Stephen. “Copland and the Broadway Sound.” 153-164.
    • Bick, Sally. “Copland on Hollywood.” 39-54.
    • Brooks, William. “Simple Gifts and Complex Accretions.” 103-117.
    • Burr, Jessica. “Copland, the West and American Identity.” 22-28.
    • DeLapp, Jennifer. “Speaking to Whom? Modernism, Middlebrow and Copland’s Short Symphony.” 85-102.
    • DeVoto, Mark. “Copland and the ‘Boulangerie.’” 3-13.
    • Dickinson, Peter. “Copland’s Earlier British Connections.” 165-174.
    • Dickinson, Peter. “Introduction.” xiii-xviii.
    • Hitchcock, H. Wiley. “Foreword.” xi-xii.
    • Mathers, Daniel E. “Expanding Horizons: Sexuality and the Re-zoning of The Tender Land.” 118-135.
    • Perlis, Vivian. “Aaron Copland and John Kirkpatrick: ‘Dear John, can you help me out?’” 57-65.
    • Pollack, Howard. “Copland, Gershwin and the American Landscape.” 66-73.
    • Robertson, Marta. “Copland and Music for Dance: Questioning Fundamental Assumptions.” 29-38.
    • Schiff, David. “Copland and the ‘Jazz Boys.’” 14-21.
    • Starr, Larry. “Copland, Ives and Gambling with the Future.” 74-82.
    • Whittall, Arnold. “Technique and Rhetoric in the Piano Fantasy.” 136-149.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. Music for the Common Man: Aaron Copland during the Depression and War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Fauser, Annegret. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Levin, Gail and Judith Tick: Aaron Copland’s America: A Cultural Perspective. New York: Watson-Guptill, 2000. More...
    A two-part book published in conjunction with the exhibition Aaron Copland’s America: A Cultural Perspective, curated by Gail Levin at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY, Nov. 4 2000--January 21, 2001. Part 1 reconstructs the visual art and literature in Copland’s environment from his childhood in Brooklyn, his student years in Europe (mainly Paris) and his return to the U.S. during the “Roaring Twenties,” the Great Depression, World War II, and the postwar years. Part 2, by musicologist Judith Tick, brings the music into focus (“The Music of Aaron Copland” pp128-165). Ample color plates make this a beautiful book to peruse, while scholarly endnotes provide ample avenues for further research.
  • Murchison, Gayle Minetta. The American Stravinsky: The Style and Aesthetics of Copland’s New American Music, the Early Works, 1921-1938. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012.
  • Robertson, Marta, and Robin Armstrong. Aaron Copland: A Guide to Research. New York: Routledge, 2001.
  • Skowronski, JoAnn. Aaron Copland: A Bio-Bibliography. Lanham, Md., Scarecrow Press, 1991.
  • Starr, Larry. The Dickinson Songs of Aaron Copland. CMS Sourcebooks in American Music. Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2002.

Books with Sections Devoted to Copland

  • Ansari, Emily Abrams. The Sound of a Superpower: Musical Americanism and the Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Chapter 4: “The Principled Brand Strategist: Aaron Copland.” 128-161.
  • Levy, Beth Ellen. Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2012. Part Five: “Aaron Copland: from Orient to Occident.” 293-368. Chapter 11: “The Saga of the Prairies,” 293-316. Chapter 12: “Communal Song, Cosmopolitan Song,” 317-350. Chapter 13: “ Copland and the Cinematic West,” 351-368.
  • Mellers, Wilfred. Music in a New Found Land: Themes and Developments in the History of American Music. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Chapter IV: “Skyscraper and Prairie: Aaron Copland and the American Isolation.” 81-101.
  • Oja, Carol. Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Chapter 14: “The Transatlantic Gaze of Aaron Copland.” 237-251.
  • Perlis, Vivian and Libby Van Cleve. Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington: An Oral History of American Music. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2005. Part Six: “From the Boulangerie,” Chapter: “AARON COPLAND.” 285-329. More...
    The chapter on Copland comprises an introduction, a reminiscence by Vivian Perlis, and a first-person section compiled from audio and video interviews in the Oral History, American Music collection. Figures, photographs, and excerpts from supplemental interviews with Leopold Godowsky II, Jacob Druckman, David Del Tredici, Minna Lederman Daniel, and Agnes de Mille are included. Two companion CDs present audio excerpts from the interviews, introduced by Perlis and Van Cleve. Three tracks on Disc 2 and part of the first track on Disc 1 contain recordings of Copland’s voice.

Scholarly Articles and Essays, General

  • Ansari, Emily Abrams. “Aaron Copland and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy.” Journal of the Society for American Music 5, no. 3 (2011): 335-64.
  • Bartig, Kevin. “Aaron Copland’s Soviet Diary (1960).” Notes70, no. 4 (2014): 575-96.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. “Aaron Copland and the Popular Front.” Journal of the American Musicological Society, 56 (2003): 409-465.
  • DeLapp-Birkett, Jennifer. “Aaron Copland and the Politics of Twelve-Tone Composition in the Early Cold War United States.” Journal of Musicological Research 27, no. 1 (2008): 31-62.
  • DeLapp, Jennifer. “Fighting the Musical Museum: Aaron Copland’s Music and Imagination.” In The Arts, Community and Cultural Democracy, edited by Lambert Zuidervaart and Henry Luttikhuizen, 108-121.
  • Fauser, Annegret. “Aaron Copland, Nadia Boulanger, and the making of an ‘American’ composer.” The Musical Quarterly 89, no. 4 (Winter, 2006): 524-554.
  • Gabbard, Krin. “Race and Reappropriation: Spike Lee Meets Aaron Copland.” American Music 18, no. 4 (2000), 370-390.
  • Hess, Carol A. “Copland in Argentina: Pan Americanist Politics, Folklore, and the Crisis in Modern Music.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66, no. 1 (2013): 191-250.
  • Kerman, Joseph. “American Music: The Columbia Series (II).” The Hudson Review 14, no. 3 (1961): 408-418.
  • Kleppinger, Stanley V. “On the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron Copland.” American Music 21, no. 1 (2003): 74-111.
  • Lerner, Neil. “Copland’s Music of Wide Open Spaces: Surveying the Pastoral Trope in Hollywood.” The Musical Quarterly 85, no. 3 (2001): 477-515.
  • Mathers, Daniel E. “Solid Basic Training: Aaron Copland’s Studies with Rubin Goldmark.” American Music 33, no. 1 (2015): 1-67.
  • Meckna, Michael. “Copland, Sessions, and Modern Music: The Rise of the Composer-Critic in America.” American Music 3, no. 2 (1985): 198-204.
  • Metzer, David. “‘Spurned Love’: Eroticism and Abstraction in the Early Works of Aaron Copland.” The Journal of Musicology 15, no. 4 (1997): 417-443.
  • Parker, Robert L. “Copland and Chávez: Brothers-in-Arms.” American Music 5, no. 4 (1987): 433-444.
  • Pollack, Howard. “The Dean of Gay American Composers.” American Music 18, no. 1 (2000): 39-49.
  • Simms, Bryan R. “Serialism in the Early Music of Aaron Copland.” The Musical Quarterly 90, no. 2 (2007): 176-196.
  • Starr, Lawrence. “Copland’s Style.” Perspectives of New Music 19 (1980): 68–89.
  • Sternfeld, Frederick W. “Copland as a Film Composer.” The Musical Quarterly 37, no. 2 (1951): 161-175.

Articles and Essays about Specific Works

  • Bick, Sally. “Of Mice and Men: Copland, Hollywood, and American Musical Modernism.” American Music 23, no. 4 (2005), 426-472.
  • DeLapp-Birkett, Jennifer. “Government Censorship and Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait during the Second Red Scare.” In The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship, edited by Patricia Hall, 511-533. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. “Mutual Responses in the Midst of an Era: Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.” Journal of Musicology 23, no. 4 (2006): 485-527.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. “Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony from Sketch to Score.” The Journal of Musicology 18, no. 3 (2001), 377-405.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. “Critical Politics: The Reception History of Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony.” The Musical Quarterly 85, no. 2 ( 2001), 232-263.
  • Crist, Elizabeth Bergman. “The Compositional History of Aaron Copland’s Symphonic Ode.” American Music 18 (2000), 257-77.
  • Kleppinger, Stanley V. “A Contextually Defined Approach to Appalachian Spring.” Indiana Theory Review 27, no. 1 (2009): 45-78.
  • Patton, Christopher W. “Discovering The Tender Land: A New Look at Aaron Copland’s Opera.” American Music 20, no. 3 (2002): 317-340.
  • Perlove, Nina. “Inherited Sound Images: Native American Exoticism in Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute and Piano.” American Music 18, no. 1 (2000): 50-77.
  • Robertson, Marta. “Musical and Choreographic Integration in Copland’s and Graham’s Appalachian Spring.” The Musical Quarterly 83, no. 1 (1999): 6-26.
  • Starr, Larry. “The Voice of Solitary Contemplation: Copland’s Music for the Theatre Viewed as a Journey of Self-Discovery.” American Music 20, no. 3 (2002): 297-316.
  • Swayne, Steve. “Music for the Theatre, the Young Copland, and the Younger Sondheim.” American Music 20, no. 1 (2002): 80-101.
  • Tacka, Philip. “Appalachian Spring’s ‘Catalytic Agent.’ Harold Spivacke’s Role in the Evolution of an American Classic.” International Journal of Musicology 8 (1999): 321-346.
  • Tick, Judith. “The Origins and Style of Copland’s Mood for Piano No. 3, ‘Jazzy.’” American Music 20, no. 3 (2002): 277-296.
  • Vanderhamm, David. “Simple Shaker Folk: Appropriation, American Identity, and Appalachian Spring.” American Music 36, no. 4 (2018), 507-526.
  • Wade, Stephen. “The Route of ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’: From ‘Fiddler Bill’ Stepp to Aaron Copland.” American Music 18, no. 4 (2000): 343-369.