Lifetime Achievement Award
David Amram started his professional life in music as a French Hornist in the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. in 1951. After serving in the US Army he moved to New York City and played French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Oscar Pettiford. He has traveled the world extensively, working as a musician and a conductor in over thirty-five countries including Cuba, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Latvia and China. He also regularly crisscrosses the United States and Canada.
He composed the scores for many films including Pull My Daisy (1959), Splendor In The Grass (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). He composed the scores for Joseph Papp's Shakespeare In The Park from and premiered his comic opera 12th Night with Papp’s libretto in 1968. He also wrote a second opera, The Final Ingredient, An Opera of the Holocaust, for ABC Television and was the Composer and Music Director for the Lincoln Center Theatre and wrote the score for Arthur Miller's plays After The Fall (1964) and Incident at Vichy (1966).
Appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first Composer In Residence for the New York Philharmonic in 1966, he is now one of the most performed and influential composers of our time. His most popular recent symphonic compositions include This Land, Symphonic Variations On A Song By Woody Guthrie (2007), commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation and performed by the Colorado Symphony with Amram conducting and recorded by Newport Classics in 2015; Giants of the Night (2002) commissioned and premiered by flutist Sir James Galway; Kokopeli, A Symphony in Three Movements (1995), premiered by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra with Amram conducting; Three Songs, A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2009), Greenwich Village Portraits for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra (2018) and Partners: A Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra(2018).
In addition to writing new music, he continues to perform around the world as a guest conductor, soloist, multi-instrumentalist, band leader at jazz, folk and classical festivals and narrates them in five languages. He has collaborated as a composer with Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Eugene Ormandy, Sir James Galway, Langston Hughes and Jacques D'Amboise; and as a musician with Thelonious Monk, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Betty Carter, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Paquito D’Rivera,Tito Puente and Jerry Jeff Walker. His archive of professional and personal papers were acquired by the Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts Branch of the New York Public Library and he was the subject of the prize-winning full-length feature documentary David Amram: The First Eighty Years, which is available on Vimeo On Demand.
In 2019, he conducted his Elegy for Violin and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic's brass quintet presented the NY Premiere of his Fanfare and Processional for Brass Quintet, and his latest chamber music composition Bulgarian Wedding for Violin and Horn was premiered and is being presented in Europe on tour with three different performances in New York in the Fall. He is currently composing Global Suite for Winds, Brass and Percussion for the Harvard Wind Orchestra, three new chamber works, and completing his fourth book David Amram:The Next 80 Years.