The Biography of David Amram



David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films "Splendor in The Grass" and "The Manchurian Candidate;" two operas, including the groundbreaking Holocaust opera "The Final Ingredient;" and the score for the landmark 1959 documentary "Pull My Daisy," narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac. He is also the author of three books, "Vibrations," an autobiography, "Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac," a memoir, and "Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat" published in the fall of 2007 by Paradigm Publishers.

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 an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. 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. One of Amram's most recent works "Giants of the Night" is a flute concerto dedicated to the memory Charlie Parker, Jack Kerouac and Dizzy Gillespie, three American artists Amram knew and worked with. It was commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway.

He is also currently working with author Frank McCourt on a new setting of the Mass, "Missa Manhattan," His two most recent orchestral works are "Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie." commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation, premiered Sept. 29 2007 , and Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra premiered in January of 2009. He was the Democratic National Convention's composer-in-residence in August of 2008 in Denver.

Today, as he has for over fifty years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages.

All his concert music is published by C.F. Peters Corporation (B.M.I.)

For outstanding live performances documented over the past thirty two years, access this page on YouTube.


From the reviews:

"Thursday night at the California Theatre, the orchestra gave the world premiere of David Amram's 'Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' with soloist Jon Nakamatsu... ... Amram's concerto casts spells. ..The work is dosed with beguiling sweetness and slow-burning, sacred power."

-- San Jose Mercury News, Jan 14 2009

"Symphony Silicon Valley began its sixth season on Saturday evening at the California Theatre in San Jose by hosting a major premiere. Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie, by David Amram, is no whimsical notion quickly tossed off, but rather a major, serious work"

-- San Francisco Classical Voice, September 29, 2007

"Galway inspired in 'Giants of the Night'.... New Work is exceptional..... Throughout, Amram's genius was apparent, in his blend of musical styles and in the breadth of conception. "Giants of the Night" is an exceptional composition with great potential for becoming part of the flute repertoire.

-- The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Sept. 16, 2002

"David Amram is one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced ..."

-- Washington Post Sept 1995

"Amram was multicultural before multiculturalism existed."

-- New York Times, Sept. 28, 1993

"...Orchestra audience; On feet for Amram. The audience repeated this tribute twice for Amram and the Philadelphia Orchestra."

-- Philadelphia Inquirer

"If you have not yet encountered this extraordinary man of music, you will probably be as fascinated as the children ... and will marvel at his multiple gifts as a Composer conductor and solo instrumentalist."

-- New York Times

"Amram may be able to play more types of music than any other man. He is a relentless pied-piper of pan cultural persuasiveness, leading listeners into a global circle that brings all peoples together."

-- Milwaukee Journal

"Members of the orchestra love him as much as the children In the audience ... a beautiful, memorable experience, but then Amram Is a most memorable man."

-- The Montreal Gazette

"David Amram ... a musical catalyst and leader on a par with Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger and Dizzy Gillespie ..."

-- Minneapolis Star & Tribune

"Amram dazzled with his versatility ... one could be but awed by his range. .. Amram was constantly enlightening."

-- The London Times

"He is a composer of major stature a conductor of winning authority and a jazz musician of noble intent and entertaining brilliance."

-- Newhouse Papers

"Amram's American music is joyous, great, beautiful ..."

-- The Kansas City Times

"A perfect pops Concert."

-- The Edmonton Journal

"A symphonic delight; an Amram crown. It would be difficult to imagine a lovelier display, or one better designed to show off the excellence of the National Symphony, Amram, the conductor, gave a stunning performance."

-- Washington Evening Star

For concerts and personal appearances, contact David Amram:

David Amram
928 Peekskill Hollow Road
Putnam Valley, NY 10579
Voice: 845.528.4305
Mobile: 914.299.3497


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