Amram, David (Werner III)

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Amram, David (Werner III)

Amram, David (Werner III), versatile American instrumentalist, conductor, and composer; b. Philadelphia, Nov. 17, 1930. He studied horn at the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons, of Music (1948) and pursued his education at the George Washington Univ. (B.A. in history, 1952). After playing horn in the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C. (1951–52) and the 7th Army Sym. Orch. in Europe, he completed his training with Mitropoulos, Giannini, and Schuller at the Manhattan School of Music (1955) and privately with Charles Mills. In addition to the horn, he learned to play the piano, guitar, various flutes and whistles, percussion, and many folk instruments. He first gained wide recognition as a composer with his scores for the theater, films, and television. In 1966-67 he served as the first composerin-residence of the N.Y. Phil. At 27, he publ. the autobiographical vol. Vibrations: The Adventures and Musical Times of David Amram (N.Y., 1968). In 1971 he became music director of the young people’s, family, and parks concerts of the Brooklyn Phil., where he introduced an innovative series of programs of a multicultural nature. He also became music director of the International Jewish Arts Festival Orch. in 1987 and director of the Aaron Copland Music of the Americas Festival in 1998. As an instrumentalist and conductor, Amram has taken his multicultural program to cities around the world. The award-winning documentary Amram Jam appeared in 1998.


DRAMATIC: Opera: The Final Ingredient (ABC-TV, April 11, 1965); Twelfth Night (1965-68; Lake George, N.Y., Aug. 1, 1968); incidental music; film scores. ORCH.: Autobiography for Strings (1959); Shakespearean Concerto for Oboe, 2 Horns, and Strings (N.Y., May 8, 1960); King Lear Variations for Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, and Piano (1965; N.Y. Phil., March 23, 1967); Horn Concerto (1966); Triple Concerto for Woodwinds, Brass, Jazz Quintets, and Orch. (1970; N.Y., Jan. 10, 1971); Bassoon Concerto (1971; Washington, D.C., March 21, 1972); Elegy for Violin and Orch. (1971); The Trail of Beauty for Mezzo-soprano, Oboe, and Orch. (Philadelphia, March 3, 1977); Violin Concerto (1980; St. Louis, May 2, 1981); Ode to Lord Buckley, saxophone concerto (Portland, Maine, March 17, 1981); Overture: Honor Song for Cello and Orch. (N.Y., July 3, 1983); Across the Wide Missouri: A Musical Tribute to HarryS. Truman (Kansas City, Mo., May 10, 1984); Travels for Trumpet and Orch. (N.Y., March 26, 1985); American Dance Suite (Omaha, Oct. 18, 1986); A Little Rebellion: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson for Narrator and Orch. (Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 1995, E.G. Marshall narrator, composer conducting); Kokopelli, sym. (1996; Nashville, Jan. 17, 1997); Giants of the Night, flute concerto (1999). CHAMBER: Trio for Saxophone, Horn, and Bassoon (1958); Violin Sonata (1960); String Quartet (1961); Sonata for Solo Violin (1964); Wind Quintet (1968); Native American Portraits for Violin, Piano, and Percussion (1976); Landscapes for Percussion Quartet (1980). VOCAL: Sacred Service for Sabbath Eve for Tenor, Chorus, and Organ (1961); The American Bell, cantata (Philadelphia, July 4, 1962); A Year in Our Land, cantata (1964); Let Us Remember, cantata (1965); 3 Songs for America for Baritone and String Quintet (1969).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire