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(E) David Amram - A Living American Treasure
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  10/6/2004 | Friends | Unrated
(E) David Amram - A Living American Treasure


David Amram



A Living American Treasure

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film including the classic scores Splendor in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate, two operas including the ground-breaking Holocaust opera and ABC Television Event The Final Ingredient, and the score for the landmark 1959 Beat Generation documentary film with Jack Kerouac, Pull My Daisy. Amram and Kerouac collaborated on the title song and Amram appeared in the film. A pioneer player of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries as well as improvising lyrics. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966), Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, E. G. Marshall, and Tito Puente, among others.

For nearly three decades, Amram has brought his contagious enthusiasm, as music director, to young people's, family, and free summer concert programs for organizations including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Chicago Symphony. As conductor, narrator, and soloist on instruments from all over the world, he combines jazz, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American, and folk musics of the world, in conjunction with the European classics. In the spring of 1995, the Brooklyn Academy of Music honored his quarter of a century as a pioneer of multicultural symphonic programming. He is the recipient of four honorary doctorates for his contribution to American music. He appears as guest conductor and soloist with major orchestras around the world, as well as touring internationally with his quartet, while continuing to produce a remarkable output of new compositions.

Recent commissions include A Little Rebellion: Thomas Jefferson, premiered at the Kennedy Center with E. G. Marshall narrating and Amram conducting members of the National Symphony Orchestra. This work was recorded in 1998. In January of 1997, Kokopelli: A Symphony in Three Movements, received its world premiere with Amram conducting the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded in June of 1997, conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn. Currently, David is completing a commissioned work for James Galway, world-renowned flutist, and symphony.

Amram has hosted television and radio specials, coordinating music and musicians designed specifically for the occasion. He appears frequently on national television, including four specials with Willie Nelson for Farm Aid, many times with the late Dizzy Gillespie, and numerous appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, Today Show, Good Morning America, and CBS Sunday Morning. His video, Origins of Symphonic Instruments, released by Educational Video, is in over 6,000 schools throughout the US and Canada. The award-winning documentary Amram Jam will be nationally televised and released as a home video in 1998. By the end of 1998 there will be twelve CD's of David Amram's music commercially available, ranging from his holocaust opera, The Final Ingredient, his symphonic works Three Concertos, to his classic film scores Splendor In The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate. His live jazz recording, Kerouac and Amram: Pull My Daisy, celebrates Kerouac and Amram's collaboration in the first-ever jazz poetry reading in New York City in 1957, and the subsequent 1959 film which combined Amram's chamber music and jazz with Jack Kerouac's narration. His best-selling autobiography, Vibrations, published in 1968, will be reissued in paperback by Viking Compass in the Fall of 1998.

David Amram is one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, listed by BMI as one of the Twenty Most Performed Composers of Concert Music in the United States since 1974. With four honorary doctorates, he was recently honored by the City of New York for his years of innovative programming with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. David Amram can appear with your orchestra as conductor and soloist, in classical, contemporary, and popular formats or infusing programs with jazz and world music for Subscription Series, Pops, Family, Young People's and Children's concerts.

For more information, visit David Amram's website

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