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Copland House, an award-winning creative center for American music and the arts that has been based at the former Cortlandt home of iconic composer Aaron Copland for the last 25 years, is planning to expand its broad range of activities to a 23-acre site in Brewster.
Last week Houlihan Lawrence announced the former campus of the Melrose School, which was run by the Community of the Holy Spirit, was sold for $3 million to the Copland House.
While the non-profit organization’s Rock Hill property on Washington St. in Cortlandt will remain Copland House’s institutional and inspirational base, longtime Artistic and Executive Director Michael Boriskin said its new 37,000-square-foot complex, known as Bluestone Farm, will serve as a satellite venue that will allow Copland House to enhance its programmatic priorities.
“This is a giant step in enabling us to deepen our relationships with the music industry, educational community, and general public,” Boriskin said. “We have long needed to enlarge our physical footprint, and this is a natural outgrowth of our core mission uniquely championing the entire artistic process from creation and development to study, presentation, and preservation.”
Built around 1940, Copland’s Cortlandt residence, where the composer spent the last 30 years of his life until he died in 1990, is a National Historic Landmark and has hosted more than 300 aspiring composers and fellows since it became functional in 1998.
Boriskin said some of the composers who followed in Copland’s footsteps have flourished professionally as Grammy Award winners and Pulitzer Prize finalists.
Bluestone Farm, which Boriskin noted Copland House plans to move into in 2025 to coincide with Copland’s 125th birthday, will provide the space for composer-led creative teams to collaborate on larger projects.
“This may be the place where the new Hamlet or West Side Story is hatched,” Boriskin said. “This will be the creative lab in the arts world. As our revered namesake Aaron Copland wrote, “art…summarizes the most basic feelings about being alive.”
Bluestone Farm features a three-wing school building that has hundreds of windows that offer stunning views of the surrounding woods. Encircling it are three residential houses, an intimate chapel, small farm outbuildings and a large soccer field. Copland House plans to adapt the existing buildings to create a multi-purpose , state-of-the-art venue for concerts, educational activities, artist studios, community gathering spaces and short-term living quarters.
Boriskin said the renovations will be phased-in and will require stepped up fundraising efforts.
“With the purchase of Bluestone Farm, Copland House can profoundly expand its longstanding mission to further the lifelong efforts of the legendary Aaron Copland in championing American composers and their work,” said Dr. Ezriel Kornel, President of Copland House’s Board of Trustees. “Advancing art enhances not only the entire local community but also humanity as a whole.”
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