“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 original scoring called for a chamber ensemble of thirteen instruments. The present arrangement for symphony orchestra was made by the composer in the spring of 1945. It is a condensed version of the ballet, retaining all essential features but omitting 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.