In 1942, conductor Bruno Walter wanted an orchestra piece for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's 100th Anniversary. Samuel Barber got the assignment and the result was Essay No. 2 for the orchestra.
Aaron Copland was one of the first composers to try to capture the authentic American sound. No work has managed to capture the pioneering spirit of rural America as well as Appalachian Spring.
Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, Age of Anxiety was inspired by W.H. Auden’s poem – The Age of Anxiety. Instead of the traditional symphonic form with an orchestral work in four sets, he divided the play according to Auden's text: two main parts, each subdivided into three.