The Stillness of Copland: The Dance of the City


Illustration by Vitoria Mendes

When composer Aaron Copland is still, he is deadly still. One daren’t move when in the presence of such stillness. And yet, within seconds, you feel like you can dance. This is a particularly welcome sensation given that the city doesn’t stop dancing. Today, that dance is often a vulgar one of demolition, gentrification, alienation and corporate dominance.


Copland is only worth listening to in the city when nobody is around. This makes listening to him at night essential. I would like to apologise to those who are unable to take such night travels. The absence of people on the street is often disturbing and in some cases, this absence poses a threat. Spontaneity in the city is, of course, essential too.