Aaron Copland: In his own words

Historical audio from Copland’s 1967 visit to Interlochen Center for the Arts made available online for the first time.

Three images of Aaron Copland taken on Interlochen's campus

From left: Aaron Copland gives a lecture in Fine Arts in 1967; Aaron Copland conducts the Arts Academy Orchestra; Aaron Copland outside the Melody Freeze.

aaron copland at interlochen arts academy
A candid photo of Aaron Copland taken at Interlochen Center for the Arts


A candid photo of Aaron Copland at Interlochen.

In some curious way, the arts symbolize for everyone some of the deepest feelings that we have, not only about life, but about life as we live it today. It’s not enough that somebody else in some past time has written great works of art, we have to do it also, because if we can’t do it in this great country of ours, then there’s something very seriously lacking here.

On Nov. 14, 1900, American composer Aaron Copland was born.

In May of 1967, Copland made his first visit to Interlochen Arts Academy to present a series of lectures and master classes. Though Copland would return to Interlochen several more times over the years as a lecturer and guest conductor of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, this year marks the 50th anniversary of his first experiences with Interlochen.

During that initial visit in 1967, Copland’s lectures were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes. Archived for decades, these tapes were digitized in the summer of 2015 to be utilized during the Interlochen Arts Festival’s celebration of Copland’s life and works. For the first time, segments from these lectures have been made available online to celebrate Copland’s birthday.

As relevant today as they were then, Copland’s lectures highlight the necessity of arts education, modern music and the importance of engaging new audiences. Please enjoy some of the highlights from Copland’s very first lectures at Interlochen via Soundcloud.