Modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, born 126 years ago today, was so revolutionary that she left behind the “Graham technique” school of dance, taught worldwide. Her style has been called the “cornerstone” of American dance, and the ballet Appalachian Spring (1954) was an important work in the history of dance as well as music.

Many know that Aaron Copland was commissioned to write the ballet’s music by Martha Graham, but it turns out Graham had an even greater influence: she was the inspiration for its musical character.

In this candid interview, Copland explains the composition of the ballet from his perspective, and it’s delightfully surprising!



Now let yourself be captivated by Graham’s performance and Copland’s score in this 1959 performance for WQED Pittsburgh: