David Amram


Photographer: Jeremy Hogan



Conductor, Composer & Multi-Instrumentalist



(USA )





Conducting the Houston Symphony for PBS Special, The World of David Amram, 1968

« A symphonic delight, an Amram crown.  It would be difficult to imagine a lovelier display or one better to show off the excellence of the National Symphony.  Amram, the conductor, gave a stunning performance. »  — The Washington Star


« 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 people together. » — The Milwaukee Journal




Photographer: Jeremy Hogan

David Amram has conducted more than seventy-five of the world’s great orchestras, composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas and, early in his career, wrote and conducted many scores for theater and films, including Splendor in the Grass and The Manchurian Candidate.


Since being appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first composer in residence with the New York Philharmonic in 1966, he has become one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, listed by BMI as one of the 20 Most Performed Composers of Concert Music in the United States since 1974.  Photo at right, Amram and Bernstein in 1967 at Lincoln Center, NY.



Photographer: Jeremy Hogan

For twenty-nine seasons, Amram was the Music Director, Conductor and Narrator of Young People’s, Family and Free Summer Parks concerts for the Brooklyn Philharmonic at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; and for fifteen seasons, Amram was the Musical Director and Conductor of the International Jewish Arts Festival, conducting members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  In addition to conducting, he has also performed with symphony orchestras as a soloist on instruments from all over the world, combining jazz, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American and folk music alongside the European classics.



Photographer: Jeremy Hogan

Today, Amram continues to perform as a guest conductor and soloist while continuing a remarkable pace of composing.  Recently acclaimed new works include Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie; Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; and Giants of the Night, a flute concerto commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway.  A Little Rebellion: Thomas Jefferson, a piece for narrator and orchestra, was premiered at the Kennedy Center with Amram conducting and Kokopeli, A Symphony in Three Movements, had its world premiere with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, also with Amram conducting.


A documentary feature film, David Amram: The First 80 Years, is currently being shown at major music and film festivals throughout the United States and internationally.  Directed by Lawrence Kraman, the film includes the New York premier of his Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie and highlights of his comic opera 12th Night.  Amram is also featured in Andrew Zuckerman’s book and new feature film documentary Wisdom: The Greatest Gift One Generation Can Give To Another, as one of the world’s 50 Elder Thinkers and Doers and his instructional video, Origins of Symphonic Instruments, released by Educational Video, is shown in over 6,000 schools throughout the United States and Canada.



David Amram – American Dance Suite (1/3)




David Amram’s Triple Concerto



Selected Reviews

« Both the orchestra and the audience were on their on feet for Amram …  The audience repeated this tribute twice for Amram and the Philadelphia Orchestra. »  — The Philadelphia Inquirer

« He is a composer of major stature a conductor of winning authority and a jazz musician of noble intent and entertaining brilliance. »  — The Newhouse Newspapers

« 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. »  — The New York Times

« 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

« Amram dazzled with his versatility …  One could be but awed by his range …  Amram was constantly enlightening. »  — The London Times

« A perfect Pops Concert. »  — The Edmonton Journal

« David Amram is one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced … »  — The Washington Post

« Amram was multicultural before multiculturalism existed. »  — The New York Times

« David Amram … a musical catalyst and leader on a par with Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger and Dizzy Gillespie … »  — Minneapolis Star & Tribune

« Amram’s American music is joyous, great, beautiful … »  — The Kansas City Times

« Galway inspired in ‘Giants of the Night’…  Throughout Amram’s genius was apparent …  An exceptional composition with great potential for becoming part of the flute repertoire. »  — The Times Picayune (New Orleans)

« 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 … »The San Francsico Classical Voice

« The Symphony Silicon Valley gave the world premiere of David Amram’s ‘Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra’ with soloist Jon Nakamatsu casts spells …  The work is dosed with beguiling sweetness and slow-burning, sacred power. »  — The San Jose Mercury News






Selected Programs For Subscription Series Young Adults, Pops & Family Concerts


Music of the Americas

A tuneful program of lyrical works by composers from the US, South America and Canada. Includes brief solos by Amram demonstrating the folk tunes and dance steps that were the inspiration for these popular works.


At Home Around The World

Amram takes the audience on a tour around the world with the music of Berlioz, Bartok, Brahms, Bizet, Borodin and Ellington, with brief anecdotes about each composer’s musical origins and demonstrations by Amram of folk sources on authentic instruments.


We’ve All Got Rhythm

An evening of Gershwin celebrating the many facets of America’s visionary composer’s music including jazz performances of his work by Amram and his trio with the orchestra.


Strictly from Austro-Hungary

A joyous evening of favorites by Johann Strauss, Brahms, Liszt, Bartok, Kodaly and demonstrations of gypsy music performed by Amram.


Red, White and Blue

Favorites by Gershwin, Bernstein, Copeland, Barber, Sousa and Amram; In addition, Amram performs brief Native American chants and other folk selections to introduce the composer’s works.


Orchestral Treasures from Broadway to Hollywood

Music for the theatre by Cole Porter, Richard Rogers, Jerome Kern and Amram’s own acclaimed scores for Splendor In The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate, as well as classic film scores drawn from the music of Mendelssohn, Rossini and Mozart.


From Mozart to Monk

A tribute to composers whose enduring work came from their experiences as improvisers; featuring selections by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Monk, Ellington and Amram.


Fiesta Latina

An evening of fiery rhythms and searing melodies from Latin America, Spain and the Mediterranean celebrating the Hispanic heritage in works by DeFalla, Bizet and popular composers from South America.



Educational Programs For Children

At Home Around the World

A Symphonic Concert for Children with Chamber or Large Orchestra


As the star of noted children’s entertainers Raffi’s hit song « Peanut Sandwich Jelly with Jam, One for me and one of David Amram, » David Amram has a built in audience from the millions of children brought up hearing and singing this song.  Photo at right, Amram after his Young People’s Concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1994



In his program At Home Around the World, Amram gives a fresh look at the symphonic treasures of the past, as well as the music of contemporary masters.  Amram introduces the composers and the featured instruments in each composition by performing on various folkloric instruments that gives students the authentic flavor of each composer’s country of origin.  Every section of the orchestra is introduced by Amram’s demonstrations on traditional woodwind, brass, string and percussion instruments of the past showing the relationships of these ancient sounds to the brilliance of the modern day orchestral players.


Having conducted over a thousand concerts during the past fifty years with orchestras all over the world, previous programs can be sent for your consideration and a new program can be especially designed for your orchestra’s requirements.  Amram can also appear as a soloist and narrator fluent in five languages or accompany members of the orchestra or especially gifted young people from the community to perform a movement of a concerto from the standard repertoire.


Around the World in 80 Minutes

Solo In School Assembly To Prepare Students for forthcoming Symphonic Concerts


Amram appears with his trunkful of instruments from around the world leading the children in a joyous journey of the music of the great composers of the past 200 years.  He introduces their works by demonstrating instruments from the cultures that inspire them.  His unparalleled virtuosity combined with lots of audience participation has made him an international ambassador of concert music.


To view two examples of Amram’s programs for young people click on the links below or copy and paste their related links into your internet browser:





Wonderama, Metromedia Network TV, 1986:






New York Views, NBC News, 1991 :



Some of the Orchestras David Amram has guest conducted


The Philadelphia Orchestra (recording of The American Bell)



David Amram at the Philadelphia Folk Festival:

David Amram & Friends perform « Mama Don’t Allow No Music Playin’ Round Here » with Larry Campbell, Erik Lawrence, John DeWitt, Kevin Twigg, Adam Amram & more!



The Chicago Symphony (PBS Network Television Sound Stage)

The National Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony

The Minnesota Orchestra

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Members (International Jewish Arts Festival – 13 seasons)

The Milwaukee Symphony

The Indianapolis Symphony

The Cleveland Chamber Orchestra

The Brooklyn Philharmonic (27 seasons)

The ABC Orchestra (ABC Network Television Holocaust Opera, The Final Ingredient)

The New York Chamber Orchestra (RCA Red Seal Recordings)

The Atlanta Symphony

The Buffalo Philharmonic

The Houston Symphony (Network Television Special, The World of David Amram)

The Kansas City Philharmonic

The St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra

The American Symphony Orchestra

The Grant Park Orchestra (8 seasons)

The Louisiana Philharmonic

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra (8 seasons)

The Toronto Symphony (12 seasons)

The Vancouver Symphony

The National Art Center Orchestra

The Winnipeg Symphony (Television Special, The Orchestra: One World of Music)

The Edmonton Symphony

The Sao Paulo Radio Orchestra of Brazil (Television Special Mozart, Samba & Jazz)

The National Orchestra of Panama

The Raanana Symphionette of Israel

The London Pops (Recording From London To Broadway)


Some of the hundreds of Orchestras who have performed David Amram’s music


The Boston Symphony

The Chicago Symphony

The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra

The St. Louis Symphony

The National Symphony

The Pittsburgh Symphony



David Amram and Ron Whitehead in the Studio – Tapping My Own Phone





DAVID AMRAM  has been described by The New York Times as « A One-Man Folk Festival, » and for being « multi-cultural before multi-culturalism existed! »  Meanwhile, the Boston Globe hailed him as, “The Renaissance Man of American Music.”  He has performed at virtually all of the major North American folk festivals on numerous occasions; and as a pioneer of `world music’ (decades before the term existed), Amram continues to travel the world, playing a dazzling variety of 35 instruments from the dozens of countries he has journeyed, while sharing songs, stories, instrumental techniques and narrating shows in five languages.  In 1997, he was elected to Kerrville Folk Festival Hall of Fame.


His fourth book David Amram: The First 80 Years will be released in late 2012 by Paradigm Publishers to coincide with his feature documentary film bio DAVID AMRAM: the First 80 Years, which will be playing festivals across North America in 2012.  Meanwhile, Andrew Zuckerman’s book and feature film documentary Wisdom: The Greatest Gift One Generation Can Give To Another which includes David as one of the World’s 50 Elder Thinkers and Doers, is being released this Winter.     





In 2011, he garnered rave reviews at festivals across America, including the 50th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Woody Fest, Clearwater, Farm Aid (20th appearance with Willie Nelson) and the MOAB Music Festival, while also headlining at New York’s Apollo Theatre with his Latin Jazz Band, co-starring in the all-star tribute to George Wein at New York’s Symphony Space Theatre; and with Willie Nelson for his 19th appearance at Farm Aid.  In 2010, he recorded and performed with Steve Martin for his 2010 Grammy winning banjo CD « The Crow, » and on Pete Seeger’s Grammy winning album “Tomorrow’s Children;” and on November 11th, a gala concert to benefit the Clearwater Foundation was produced and filmed at New York’s Symphony Space Theater, celebrating David’s 80th birthday.  Along with video tributes from Pete Seeger and Willy Nelson, more than 150 musicians and singers paid tribute to his 60 year repertoire of music and songs, including jazz masters, Latin masters (with Candido), Middle Eastern masters, Native American masters, bluegrass masters (with John McEuen), and a symphony orchestra performing the New York premiere of his Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.  His 2009 and 2008  highlights include: performing at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden, Odetta’s Celebration of Life Memorial Concert; performing with Jerry Jeff Walker at Red Rock in Denver for the Democratic National convention (for which he was the Musical Director); and performing with Patti Smith at the Celebration of Jack Kerouac’s Installation of the Scroll for On the Road (note that Amram was Kerouac’s musical collaborator for 12 years and accompanied him in his first-ever New York jazz poetry readings in 1957).


Other classic folk recording sessions include: Bob Dylan, Odetta, Willie Nelson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jerry Jeff Walker, Tom Chapin, Buffy St. Marie, Louden Wainwright, Jr., Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman, Steve Goodman, Alan Ginsberg and Michael Moore.  David has also performed with many other folk and jazz music luminaries, including Neil Young, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Harry Chapin, Richie Havens, Nanci Griffith, Josh White, Jr., John Sebastian, Levon Helm, Red Clay Ramblers, Oscar Brand, Professor Longhair, Queen Ida, Beausoleil, and John Hammond, Jr., in addition to younger artists, such as Madeleine Peyroux, Guy Davis, Toshi Reagan, and Scotland’s Laura McGhee.  His jazz collaborations include: Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Betty Carter, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, Oscar Pettiford and Mary Lou Williams; in addition to the historic 1977 Havana (Cuba) Jazz Concert with his band mates Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Fatha Hines and Stan Getz.  In 2011, he was honored with the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award.   David has an equally stellar resume in the Latin, African, Afro-Cuban, Indian and Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Jewish, Blues, Country and Native American musical worlds, and he tours the world giving lectures with music about his times with Jack Kerouac; in addition to lectures with music revolving around his books: Vibrations; Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac; and  Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat.  And, in his spare time, when not performing with his world music mates, David has written 109 symphonic and chamber music scores; two operas; the film scores for « Splendor in the Grass, » « Manchurian Candidate, » and the landmark “Pull My Daisy” (with Jack Kerouac as the narrator); composed music scores for twenty-two Broadway shows; in addition to being named by Leonard Bernstein as the first Composer-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic. “One of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced” (Washington Post).








« The star of the (Philadelphia Folk) festival from my perspective was 80-year-old David Amram, who participated in a tribute to Phil Ochs, held a spellbinding workshop recalling his days playing with Jack Kerouac, led a lengthy World Music jam, performed his own jazz set which made me realize he influenced Mose Allison rather than the other way around, and finished off the festival by sitting with Levon Helm’s outstanding band, which included Larry Campbell on guitar, Steve Bernstein on trumpet and Howard Johnson on tuba. Amram’s double pennywhistle solo on « The Weight » at the close of the night was the perfect grace note for the festival. Amram’s best quote: `When they’re telling you that the policemen and the firemen are the enemies, going after the Archie Bunkers, you know they’ve overplayed their hand. »  (by John Swenson, august 24, 2011) 


For David Amram’s website, including his current calendar, click here.


For bookings contact Douglas Yeager at

Douglas Yeager Productions

300 West 55th Street, Suite #15E

NY, NY 10019

Tel: (212) 245-0240 • Fax: (212) 245-6576

Skype: DouglasYeager • Email: yeagerprod@aol.com

Historic First-Edition 39-track CD ‘David Amram Poetry JAM’ is now available at www.calquecinema.com.


The 8-Panel Digipak features never-before seen photographs, liner notes and introduction by David Amram. All-original music by David Amram featuring poets Casey Cyr, Steve Dalachinsky, Albert Kausch, Richard L. Martin, Lee Ranaldo and Ron Whitehead.


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Announcing the Release of David Amram Poetry JAM, a Historic CD Anthology Featuring Music by David Amram


MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT (August 31, 2011) – Calque Cinema Records is pleased to announce the release of David Amram Poetry JAM – a historic 39-track CD Anthology featuring original musical compositions by world-renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer and conductor David Amram, described as “the Renaissance man of American music” by The Boston Globe.


David Amram jams with contemporary poets from New York to Kentucky as he has done since 1957 when he performed with Jack Kerouac in New York City’s first-ever jazz & poetry readings.


David Amram is a pioneer of the genre of literary and musical collaborations. From 1957-1958, Jack Kerouac and David Amram with Philip Lamantia and Howard Hart held a series of New York City’s first-ever official public jazz and poetry readings at the Brata Art Gallery, the Circle in the Square Theater, and Brooklyn College. Those historic readings are described in David’s books “Vibrations,” “Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac” and “Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat” published by Paradigm Publishers.


David accompanies readings of original poetry by contemporary published writers (in alpha order) Casey Cyr, Steve Dalachinsky, Albert Kausch, Richard L. Martin, Lee Ranaldo and Ron Whitehead, who have collaborated together live on stage, in the studio, and who share titles published by the Kerouac-inspired boutique imprint Hozomeen Press. Ron Whitehead, author of 21 books and 31 CDs has been hailed by many as the poet of his generation « I have long admired Ron Whitehead. He is crazy as nine loons, and his poetry is a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics » –Hunter S. Thompson. Lee Ranaldo is a musician, visual artist, writer, and founding member of the New York City group Sonic Youth. Richard L. Martin is founder of Hozomeen Press, Cosmodemonic Telegraph and the Telegraph Recording Company, collectively releasing some 300 titles of poetry, prose, graphics and music over the last 20 years. Dr. Albert Kausch, is a geneticist and poet, and has invented over twenty patents. NYC poet Steve Dalachinsky is the author of numerous books and CDs. Casey Cyr is a writer, musician, visual artist, founder of Calque Cinema Records & Publishing and producer of David Amram Poetry JAM.


The CD’s 39 tracks were recorded in three sessions between 2000 and 2001, the first occurring before David celebrated his 70th birthday. The excitement of the new millennium in Times Square was nearly rivaled by David Amram’s landmark 70th Birthday Bash at New York City’s Knitting Factory, which featured several artists on these recordings. Other collaborations included events at the 16-venue 3-day New York Underground Music & Poetry Festival, a tribute to Gregory Corso at Nuyorican Poets Café, and Old Angel Midnight: A Tribute to David Amram and Jack Kerouac at New York’s popular HOWL Festival.


David Amram Poetry JAM was recorded at New York City’s world-class studio Sorcerer Sound, known for its superb recordings by eclectic, established and ground-breaking artists such as: Norah Jones, Matthew Shipp & DJ Spooky, Allen Ginsburg, Philip Glass, John Cage, Public Enemy, L.L. Cool J, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Richie Havens, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Violent Femmes, Television, Luna, The Sugarcubes and Jeff Buckley to name a few. In the studio, as each poet read, David listened intently, composing on the spot. David Amram crafts spontaneous compositions that harmonize with the poem, as he draws from an arsenal of instruments from the four corners of the globe – Shanai, Doumbek, Lakota Courting Flute, Congas & Cascara, Moroccan Clay Drum, Tambourine, Ocarina, Irish Double D Whistle, Piano and French Horn. Instruments are only tools for his creations. It is his ability to transmute language into sound and vibration that convey his alchemical genius. Through a lifelong love affair with music, literature, language, and life itself, David Amram is a true master. An aspect of his diverse mastery is forever captured in these joyful and poignant collaborations.


David Amram’s Biography


David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including classic scores for films Splendor in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; two operas, including the ground-breaking 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. To purchase Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac and David Amram’s other books, please visit: www.paradigmpublishers.com


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, Johnny Depp 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. 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, band leader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages.


« David Amram is one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced … » – Washington Post

« Amram was multicultural before multiculturalism existed. » – 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











David Amram’s Links

David Amram’s webpage is www.davidamram.com.


Artist Links (alpha order)

Casey Cyr:  www.caseycyr.com

Steve Dalachinsky: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Dalachinsky

Albert Kausch: www.uri.edu/cels/ceoc/biofuelsbios.html

Richard L. Martin: www.hozomeen.org

Lee Ranaldo: www.leeranaldo.com   www.sonicyouth.com

Ron Whitehead: www.tappingmyownphone.com


David Amram Poetry JAM is available at Calque Cinema www.calquecinema.com and CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/davidamrampoetryjam




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