| MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR
Musician, composer, conductor, storyteller—few people have left their mark on the world of music as David Amram has. A very short list of his collaborators would include Dizzy Gillespie, Jack Kerouac, Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Sir James Galway, Charles Mingus, John Frankenheimer, Langston Hughes, Elia Kazan, Thelonious Monk, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Arthur Miller, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. Among Amram’s many accomplishments are playing French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton; composing the scores for the classic films The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Splendor in the Grass (1960), and the Beat documentary movie Pull My Daisy (1959) narrated by Jack Kerouac; pioneering the first-ever public Jazz/Poetry readings in NYC with Jack Kerouac (1957); becoming the first composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic at the request of Leonard Bernstein(1966); composing the opera "12th Night" with Shakespeare's text adapted by Joseph Papp (1968); composing THIS LAND: Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie, a symphony based on Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land (with live CD recording to be released in 2014); championing world music decades before the term was invented: playing at Farm Aid with Willie Nelson (1986-2014); and recounting his amazing life's story in three books.
David Amram has spent the last 55 years playing with and for Native American artists and many Lakota legendary activists and performers. He was Floyd Red Crow Westerman's accompanist for 40 years, worked with Vine Deloria Jr, and played in major events for and with Native Americans for most of his life. He has performed for the Treaty council since the 70s, for Leonard Peletier since the beginning of his trials, for AIM since they began, for the Longest Walk in 1978 and collaborated with Lakota musicians Kevin Locke and Tiokasin Ghosthorse, recorded CDs with native artists Buffy St Marie, Joanne Shenendoah, Leslie Silko, Rueben Silverbird, Martha Redbone, and played concerts and benefits with Carlos Nakai. Joseph Firecrow, Hyemeyohsts Storm, Joy Harjo, Jim Pepper, Matoaka Eagle, Buddy Redbow, Bill Miller, Oscar Pettiford, Richard Archuleta, Dennis Banks, Leonard Crow Dog, Bill Means and many other Native artists and activists from the USA, Canada and Central and South America.
Amram has composed several critically acclaimed classical concert pieces based on his lifetime experiences inspired by the music taught to him by Native peoples.
Three of his most performed works based on traditional Native music are Trail of Beauty composed for the Philadelphia Orchestra , using social songs which Floyd Red Crow Westerman taught him, with texts which Vine de Loria Jr helped him to find, Honor Song for Sitting Bull, a cello concerto whose theme was taught to Amram by Kevin Locke, and Native American Portraits based on Cheyenne, Seneca and Zuni themes.
Now approaching his 84th birthday, Amram continues to work non-stop as a classical composer, multi-instrumentalist, band leader, lecturer (in five languages) and guest conductor, constantly composing as he tours around the world.
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"Lokota Round Dance" with David Amram and Floyd
Red Crow Westerman
"American Dance Suite" for Cheyenne Indians by
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Final concert for the Longest Walk 1978 Washington DC Native Americans walked 3000 miles from California to Washington DC.to create awareness of need for education and honoring of treaties .
Left to right Muhammad Ali, Buffy St Marie,Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Harold Smith, Stevie Wonder,Marlon Brando, Max Gail,Dick Gregory, Richie Havens, David Amram (Photo courtesy of the David Amram Archive)
With Buffy St Marie Clearwater Festival 2013
"David Amram conducts and solos with members of the Chicago Symphony in his Triple Concerto for Woodwind, Brass and Jazz quintets and Orchestra.... PBS 1978
With Gus High Eagle in Beacon New York for The 2 Row Wampum Festival held in Beacon NY Aug 3. 2013
Pete Seeger and David Amram perform with Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy,at the 2 Row Wampum Festival Beacon NY Aug 3. 2013