in recognition of the new school's centennial, mannes school of music honors the sound and legacy of aaron copland in all-copland concert at lincoln center's alice tully hall

Saturday, October 26th Event Features Two Copland Orchestral Masterpieces and New Dramatic Work That Brings Copland’s Political Life to the Fore

Mannes Orchestra performs at Alice Tully Hall

New York, September 30, 2019 – The New School’s College of Performing Arts (COPA) today announced Aaron Copland: An American Portrait, a one-of-a-kind concert and performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall honoring Aaron Copland’s legacy as a visionary composer and citizen-artist. CoPA’s Mannes Orchestra, in partnership with the university’s School of Drama, will perform Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait and Symphony No. 3 as well as Art in an Uneasy World, a newly devised dramatic work based on Copland’s testimony during the 1953 anticommunist hearings on “un-American activities.” The concert will take place on Saturday, October 26th at 7:30 pm.

Aaron Copland is recognized as one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th Century for his tremendous breadth of style and originality of his work, which made it uniquely American. What is lesser celebrated is Aaron Copland, the citizen activist, who was deeply concerned about the plight of his fellow Americans during the depression, founded multiple organizations to support and advocate for composers, scored anti-Nazi films in the 1940s, and was a staunch patriot questioned in 1953 by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

“The New School was founded by John Dewey, James Beard, James Harvey Robinson, Alvin Johnson, and Thorsten Veblen as a place of refuge out of a culture that feared and ostracized radical thinkers, political dissidents, and nearly any individual who dared to speak out against the nation’s involvement in World War I,” said Richard Kessler, Dean of Mannes and Executive Dean for the College of Performing Arts. “Copland’s life both personal and professional, was deeply shaped by those same external forces. Today, once again, those same forces of fear, hate, and intolerance loom large in American society and politics. We hope that this evening will tie together all of these threads, and provide the opportunity for reflection on how far we have come, and how far we have to go.”

Art in an Uneasy World, conceived by Pippin Parker, Dean of the School of Drama, and faculty member Isaac Butler, brings to life Copland’s testimony during the 1953 hearings. Directed by Butler, the piece will be presented semi-staged, featuring MFA actors from the School of Drama and the Mannes Orchestra. A Lincoln Portrait and Symphony No. 3 are among Copland’s most well-known pieces, reflecting a visionary style that incorporated a range of American genres, including jazz, folk and connections to Latin America. The Mannes Orchestra is conducted by faculty member David Hayes.

"As a composer, Copland celebrated America, inventing a sound which continues to evoke the expanse of our nation and richness of our history," said Pippin Parker, Dean of the School of Drama. "As an advocate for freedom of expression and American ideals, he held true to his beliefs with incredible dignity and optimism, despite having his patriotism questioned at the highest level of government. We are proud to honor his art and his legacy."

This all-Copland concert comes at an important time for The New School, which celebrates its Centennial this year. From 1927 to 1938 Copland taught multiple courses and organized a regular series of new music concerts at “The New School for Social Research.” Eventually, his New School lectures would appear in the form of two books—What to Listen for in Music (1937) and Our New Music (1940). He made many important friends and connections while at The New School, including Martha Graham, who commissioned Copland to write Appalachian Spring with funds from the Coolidge Foundation.

Mannes Orchestra
Aaron Copland: An American Portrait
Alice Tully Hall
1941 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Tickets: $10
On sale: September 26th via and the Alice Tully Hall Box Office or call Center Charge: 212-721-6500

The New School’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA), formed in the fall of 2015, brings together Mannes School of Music, the iconic 100-year-old conservatory; the legendary School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the innovative and ground-breaking School of Drama. With each school contributing its unique culture of excellence, the College of Performing Arts creates opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovative education, and world-class performances. As part of the formation of CoPA, Mannes has moved into the newly renovated Arnhold Hall in Greenwich Village, a state-of-the-art facility designed especially for the performing arts. Also housed in Arnhold Hall are the School of Jazz and the School of Drama’s BFA program. As a part of The New School, students and faculty across the College of Performing Arts experience a supportive and rigorous environment with enhanced opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in a wide array of disciplines, from the visual arts and fashion design, to the social sciences, to public policy and advocacy, and more. CoPA has over 1,000 degree and diploma seeking students, including a variety of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Now in its second century as a dynamic musical center, Mannes School of Music is a standard bearer for innovative artistry, dedicated to developing citizen artists who engage their communities and the world through music. Through its undergraduate, graduate, professional studies, and preparatory programs, Mannes offers a curriculum as imaginative as it is rigorous, taught by a world-class faculty and visiting artists. As part of The New School’s College of Performing Arts, together with the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and the School of Drama, Mannes makes its home on The New School’s Greenwich Village campus in a state-of-the-art facility at the newly renovated Arnhold Hall.

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School

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