David Amram

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David Amram
Born (1930-11-17) November 17, 1930 (age 88)
GenresJazz, Classical Music, Folk Music, Singer/Songwriter
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, and author
InstrumentsFrench horn, piano, flutes, whistles, percussion

David Werner Amram III (born November 17, 1930) has composed more than one hundred orchestral and chamber works; written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; composed two operas, including the Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and composed the score for the 1959 documentary Pull My Daisy, narrated by Jack Kerouac.


Along with Julius Watkins, Amram is considered a pioneer of jazz French horn. He also plays piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as being an improvisational lyricist. Since working with Leonard Bernstein, (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966[1]), he has been one of BMI's twenty most performed composers of concert music of the last thirty years.

Some of Amram's recent orchestral works include Giants of the Night, a concerto for flute and orchestra (commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway in 2002); Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie,[2] (commissioned by the Woody Guthrie Foundation and premiered in 2007); and Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (written for and premiered by pianist Jon Nakamatsu in 2009).[3]


As leader[edit]

Year Album Personnel Label
1957 Jazz Studio No. 6: The Eastern Scene Decca Records
1961 Jazz Portrait Bobby Jaspar, Harold Land, George Barrow Decca Records
1971 No More Walls Jerry Dodgion, Pepper Adams, Candido, Flying Fish/Rounder Records
1972 Subway Night RCA Records
1974 Triple Concerto RCA Records
1977 Havana/New York Flying Fish/Rounder Records
1980 At Home/Around the World Flying Fish/Rounder Records
1982 Latin Jazz Celebration Joe Wilder, Jimmy Knepper, Steve Berrios, George Barrow, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, Duduka Fonseca, Machito, Victor Venegas, Candido Elektra/Musician
1990 Autobiography Flying Fish/Rounder Records
1995 Pull My Daisy Premier Records
1996 Final Ingredient: An Opera of the Holocaust Premier
1999 Southern Stories Chrome Records
2001 Spirit: A Tribute to Jack Kerouac
2002 On the Waterfront Varèse Sarabande
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Varèse Sarabande
2011 David Amram Poetry Jam Casey Cyr, Steve Dalachinsky, Albert Kausch, Richard Lee Martin, Lee Ranaldo, Ron Whitehead Calque Cinema
2014 The Young Savages - Original Soundtrack Harold Land Intrada
2016 Jazz On Film...David Amram's Classic American Film Scores 1956 - 2016

5-CD Boxset feat - The Manchurian Candidate, Pull My Daisy, Splendor in The Grass, The Arrangement, Isn't It Delicious, The Young Savages, After The Fall, On The Waterfront (on Broadway)

Harold Land, Paul Horn, Carmell Jones, Buster Bailey, Thad Jones, George Barrow,

Sahib Shihab, Jerry Dodgion, Candido, Laurindo Almeida, Pepper Adams, Jack Kerouac

Moochin' About

As sideman[edit]

Selected recordings of Amram's classical compositions[edit]

  • 1993: David Amram – An American Original (Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, cond. Richard Aulden Clark)
    • American Dance Suite: Cheyenne, Blues, Cajun
    • Theme and Variations on "Red River Valley" for Flute & Strings (Julius Baker, soloist)
    • Travels for Trumpet & Orchestra: Taos, Blues & Variations, Taxim
    • Three Songs for America: Texts by John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy
  • 1995: David Amram: Three Concertos (Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, cond. Richard Aulden Clark)
    • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Charles Castleman, soloist)
    • Honor Song for Sitting Bull, for Cello and Orchestra (Nathaniel Rosen, soloist)
    • Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (Kenneth Pasmanick, soloist)
  • 1997: New York Legends: Philip Myers, Principal Horn, New York Philharmonic
    • Three Songs for Marlboro, for Horn and Cello
  • 1997: The Nashville Symphony, cond. Kenneth Schermerhorn
    • Kokopelli: A Symphony in Three Movements
  • 2004: American Classics – David Amram
    • Songs of the Soul: A Symphony in Three Movements (Berlin Radio Orchestra, cond. Christopher WIlkins)
    • Shir L'erev Shabbat: Excerpts from a Friday Evening Service (cond. Ken Keisler)
    • Excerpts from The Final Ingredient, an Opera of the Holocaust (cond. Ken Keisler)
  • 2006: John Cerminaro: A Life of Music, Historic Live Performances
    • Concerto for Horn and Wind Symphony (John Cerminaro, soloist, Juilliard Wind Orchestra, cond. James Chambers)
  • 2014: The Chamber Music of David Amram - Live at the New York Chamber Music Festival (artists include violinist Elmira Darvarova, flutist Carol Wincenc, Face the Music Ensemble, New York Piano Quartet, hornist Howard Wall, and the David Amram Quartet)


  • 2001: Vibrations: The Adventures and Musical Times of David Amram (Thunder's Mouth Press) ISBN 1-56025-308-8
  • 2003: Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac (Paradigm) ISBN 1-56025-460-2
  • 2007: Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat (Paradigm) ISBN 978-1-59451-424-1
  • Douglas Brinkley wrote in the introduction to Vibrations: The Adventures and Musical Times of David Amram and Audrey Sprenger wrote the Afterwards (Paradigm, 2008)
  • 1986: "Making Music" (Atheneum) ISBN 0689311192 by Arthur K. Paxton


  1. ^ Ginell, Richard. "David Amram: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Bratman, David (October 2, 2007). "Variations on This Land". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "2008 – 2009 Season". Symphony Silicon Valley. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

External links[edit]