Aaron Copland, an educator who worked tirelessly to promote other composers at Harvard, Tanglewood, on radio and television, was a great pioneering force in American music, and one of the most honoured cultural figures in US history - he basically "is" American music!
From the time of Copland's first visit to Mexico City in1932, when his friend Carlos Chávez took him to the colorful nightclub called "El Salón México," Copland wanted to compose a piece about the unusual dance hall. He said, "I was attracted by the spirit of the place and by the Mexican people. Using Mexican melodies seemed appropriate. My purpose was not merely to quote literally, but to heighten without in any way falsifying the natural simplicity of Mexican tunes."
Much to Copland's surprise and delight, El Salón México was welcomed warmly in Mexico and has consistently been one of his most performed pieces. As he said, "Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this kind of acceptance for the piece!"
For more information on Aaron Copland, plus a complete list of his available publications, click here