"Appalachian Spring" was composed in 1943-44 as a ballet for Miss Martha Graham on a commission from the Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation. It was first performed by Miss Graham and her company at the Coolidge Festival in the Libarary of Congress, Washington, D.C., on October 30, 1994.
The present version is scored for the original chamber ensemble of thirteen instruments. It is a condensed version of the ballet (identical with the original suite derived from the ballet for symphony orchestra), which retains all essential features but omits those sections in which the interest is primarily choreographic.
In 1945 "Appalachian Spring" received the Pulitzer Prize for music as well as the award of the Music Critics Circle of New York for the outstanding theatrical work of the season.