Thirteen Ways of Looking at Aaron Copland

I recently made a pilgrimage to the Copland House north of New York City.  It's pretty much as he left it: simple, rustic, and woodsy.  A little musty.  Watch this space for more, including an interview with the composer-in-residence, Stephen Snowden, and enjoy this scrapbook.



I.

From the highway

Take the Taconic Parkway north, then drive two miles due east of the Hudson River and cross a little metal bridge near the Montrose-Buchanan exit on Route 9.  Wend through the trees to Furnace Dock Road. 

 

II. 

From the driveway

Copland House is at 1538 Washington Street and is open to the public by appointment.   

III.

Through his living room window

Aaron Copland loved wilderness, and after decades of living in the city, he sought refuge here.

 

IV.

At the kitchen table

Copland spent mornings writing his memoirs and keeping up with correspondence.  He reserved afternoons for visits with guests: other composers, conductors, Boy Scout troops.  Everyone was welcome. 

V.

In the big studio at the back of the house

Copland often composed in the evenings. He was a night owl.

VI.

Through photographs

Here Copland sits at the piano with his friend David Diamond.

VII.

In letters and memoirs

Most of Copland’s papers are stored at the Library of Congress, but a few letters, lecture notes, and diary entries are on display at the Copland House.  He was a terrific writer.

VIII.

On his book shelves

You know this is the first thing you want to do when you visit someone’s house -- look at the books!

 

IX.

Through the eyes of the composers who enjoy residencies here

The Copland Fund allows composers to live in this house for weeks of months to complete specific projects.  On the day I visited, Texas composer Stephen Snowden was finishing a commission for a dance troupe. 

X.

On a pillow?

Here’s one of the many folksy and charming gifts people gave him.

 

XI.

By the fireplace

Copland’s home decor might be summed up in two words: “rustic elegance.”  

 

 XII. 

Out the kitchen sink window.

Look! More trees!

XIII.  Through the eyes of pianist and Artistic & Executive Director of Copland House, Michael Boriskin.

Watch this space for an interview with him about the house, its mission, and how it was almost sold.