Bringing Coplands Legacy to Sarah Lawrence
Sarah Lawrence has begun a collaborative exchange with Music from Copland House, a performing ensemble based at the northern Westchester home of the late composer Aaron Copland. In 2003-04 the ensemble will present concerts, master classes and workshops on campus for students and area residents, while students will visit Copland’s home and studio.
“What could be more inspirational for a young musician than to experience the intimate environment of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers?” asks Sarah Lawrence Music Director Chester Biscardi. He would know: As a recipient of the Aaron Copland Award, Biscardi lived and worked in Copland House for six weeks in the summer of 2002.
After Copland died in 1990, his neighbors founded Copland House, Inc., to create a second life for his home. Copland was deeply committed to promoting the music and composers of his native land, so his house was reborn as a creative center featuring educational activities and a residency program in which composers live and study there.
“At the time that Copland started out, there were very few composers who had something uniquely American to say,” Biscardi says. “Until Charles Ives, George Gershwin and, of course, Copland himself, most American composers emulated the Europeans.”
Sarah Lawrence, too, has always supported fresh musical ideas, says Biscardi, so the collaboration with Music from Copland House is apt. “The College is a school about self-realization and self-perception,” he says, “so it makes sense that it is on the vanguard of everything new and sometimes radical in the arts.”
— Suzanne Walters MFA ’04