If any one musician today can be singled out as the "dean of American music," it is Aaron Copland. Without his scores, without his generous encouragement of an entire generation of young American composers, without his unstinting labors to create and maintain an audience for music in 20th-century America, we might never have enjoyed the lively and vital musical scene we know today. Copland, born in Brooklyn in 1900, became a classic in his time. He first studied with Rubin Goldmark and then, in 1921, with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Returning in 1924, he sought a style "that could speak of universal things in a vernacular of American speech rhythms." Copland seemed to know what to remove from the music of the European tradition, simplifying the chords and opening the melodic language, in order to make a fresh idiom. With his ballet and theater scores - including Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo - and his contributions to the orchestral and recital repertory - including notably El Salon Mexico, Lincoln Portrait, Orchestral Variations, Quiet City, and Emblems, the Sonata for Piano, his symphonies, and the Piano Variations - he created, encouraged, and enriched the repertory. He was a great teacher, whether to the classes of composers at the Tanglewood Festival or to broad spectrum audiences of laymen. In his later years, he was often called upon to conduct and narrate his own works. It can honestly be said that Copland set America's soul to music.