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Copland wrote a ballet about one of the most famous "western gangsters" in history: Billy the Kid. The work was written in 1938 and remained popular for over a decade. Unfortunately, his works are no longerheard or performed often enough today. In my opinion, Copland is one of the greatest American performers in music history, but he is not given the recognition he deserves by today's society. By looking at Copland's worksand analyzing his "Billy the Kid," the necessary proof of his greatness will, without question, show the fact that he is one of the greatest American composers of all time. Aaron Copland, whose family name was changed from Kapland by immigration officials in New York, was born on November 14, 1900 and died December 2, 1990. His parents were of Lithuanian Jewish descent. His parents emigrated from Russia to the United States. His father owned a department store and they did not live lavishly. As he explained, "I was born on November 14, 1900 on a street in Brooklyn that can only be Geruso 2 described as drab. It had none of the garish color of the ghetto, none of the charm of an old New England thoroughfare, or even a pioneer street...."He began to take piano lessons at the age of fourteen under the tutelage of his sister Laurine.Soon he wanted more professional lessons. Despite the fact that his four elder siblings had taken lessons with no success, he convinced his parents to pay for lessons. "I distinctly remember with what fear and trembling Iknocked on the door of Mr. Leopold Wolfsohn's piano studio on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, and-once again all by myself-arranged for piano lessons." The idea of composing music was not "connected...with my family or with mystreet." By the age of 18 he had graduated high school and decided to devote all his time and energy to music. Under the direction of Rubin Goldmark he studied the theory of harmony and the works of Chopin, Haydn,Beethoven, Wagner, Hugo Wolf, Debussy, and Sc...

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