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Nov 26, 2020

Born in Philadelphia in 1930 David Amram was raised on a dairy farm in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, where, he says, he loved hearing “the old hog callers, who excelled in this special style of performing art,” he writes. “Whether or not they impressed any hogs, these farmers made me see that you can find music and beauty anywhere if you pay attention. They also made me see that you can transform anything into a form of expression all your own.”

In 1951 David Amram started his professional life in music as a French Hornist in the National Symphony Orchestra. After serving in the US Army, he moved to New York City in 1955 and played French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Oscar Pettiford.

David also created and performed in the first ever jazz and poetry readings in New York City with novelist and close friend Jack Kerouac, with whom he collaborated with for over 12 years.

David also composed the scores for many films including Pull My Daisy, Splendor In The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate, as well as being appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first composer in residence for the New York Philharmonic in 1966.

Over the decades, Amram has preserved his artistic adventures in three memoirs: Vibrations, Offbeat: Collaborations with Kerouac, and Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat. He’s currently working on the fourth, to be entitled David Amram: The Next Eighty Years.