Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2014 - 8/31/2014

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Aaron Copland, Cultural Diplomacy, and Latin America

FAIN: FT-61552-14

Carol Ann Hess
Regents of the University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)

I am applying for an NEH Summer Stipend to complete two in-progress books on the U.S. composer Aaron Copland and his work as a cultural diplomat in Latin America. The first book is an annotated edition of the diary Copland kept of his Latin American experience. The second book enlists Copland's diplomatic encounters to explore broader questions that cultural diplomacy often poses in relationship of unequal political and economic power, as with the United States and Latin America. I show that both American exceptionalism and divergent views of modernism, North and South, surface in reviews of Copland's music. I also relate these and other related themes to the special nature of music, generally seen as a nonrepresentational art but one to which audiences are nonetheless quick to attach meaning. My project thus offers a fresh and nuanced look at Longfellow's oft-repeated adage "music is the universal language," tested every time musicians take up the duties of cultural diplomacy.

Media Coverage

Library of Congress Talke (Media Coverage)
Publication: German Radio
Date: 10/7/2014

Associated Products

Aaron Copland in Latin America: Music and Cultural Politics (Book)
Title: Aaron Copland in Latin America: Music and Cultural Politics
Author: Carol A. Hess
Year: 2023
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Publisher website
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780252044854