Singing AB : 4 - 6 [ends: 2018] for Voice (High) & Piano. The first set of Old American Songs was completed in 1950, the same year that Copland finished his other major song set, Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson. While Copland was writing the songs, tenor Peter Pears and composer Benjamin Britten came to visit him. Taken by Coplands new settings, they left with his promise of receiving copies of the songs in England to perform. On October 17, 1950, the first set was given its world premiere by Pears with Britten at the piano at their Aldeburgh Festival. The American premiere took place in New York on January 28, 1951, with Copland accompanying baritone William Warfield. The success of the first set prompted Copland to set five more songs. Finished in 1952, the second set was premiered by Warfield and Copland at the Castle Hill Concerts in Massachusetts on July 24 of that year. Copland would later orchestrate both sets for medium voice and small orchestra. Warfield sang the premiere of the orchestrated first set with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Alfred Wallenstein, on January 7, 1955. Grace Bumbry premiered the second set with the Ojai Festival Orcestra on May 25, 1955, with Copland on the podium.