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.
"David Amram ... a musical catalyst and leader on a par with Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger and Dizzy Gillespie ..."
-- Minneapolis Star & Tribune
"He is a composer of major stature a conductor of winning authority and a jazz musician of noble intent and entertaining brilliance."
-- Newhouse Papers