Copland House: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Nov 13, 2020
Originally published on November 13, 2020 8:34 am

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


Since 2008, we've invited almost 1,000 musicians to come to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., to play songs beside a desk that belongs to my colleague Bob Boilen. Since the pandemic hit, artists have been getting creative incorporating their own desks, and other makeshift setups, into Tiny Desk "home" concerts.

But the desk – and the home setup – for this performance beats them all. The location is the home, and not so tiny writing desk, of Aaron Copland, America's beloved composer.

Copland, who would have turned 120 on Nov. 14, gave us Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man and Rodeo, among many other works that helped define a singular American sound. The set begins with one of the composer's earliest pieces in a jazzy vein, while the Violin Sonata that follows embodies America's wide open spaces, filled with possibilities. The Duo for flute and piano, which closes the set and features the great flutist Carol Wincenc, was actually written at the very desk seen in this video.

Aaron Copland at the work desk at his home in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., ca. 1978.
Copland House, Inc.

Michael Boriskin plays Copland's own piano. He's the artistic and executive director of Copland House, located an hour north of New York City in the lower Hudson River Valley. What was once Copland's home is now a creative center for American music.

Copland's music from Copland's own desk – what could be more authentic than that?

SET LIST

  • Three Moods: III. Jazzy
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano: I. Andante semplice – Allegro
  • Duo for flute and piano: II. Poetic, somewhat mournful; III. Lively, with bounce

MUSICIANS

  • Michael Boriskin: piano
  • Curtis Macomber: violin
  • Carol Wincenc: flute

CREDITS

  • Video and Audio: Jeremy Tressler

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Tom Huizenga
  • Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Maia Stern
  • Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
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