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David Amram - 80 Years
(Published: October 25, 2010)

DAVID AMRAM: The First 80 Years

A Musical Celebration of Composer, Conductor, Author and Multi-Instrumentalist David Amram

Jazz Forum Arts Executive Director Mark Morganelli proudly presents a spectacular, historic celebration of a true American original, whom the Washington Post described as “one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced.” DAVID AMRAM: The First 80 Years takes place Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, NYC. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Clearwater, the organization founded by Pete Seeger, as well as the Woody Guthrie Foundation.

The concert will feature the New York premiere of Amram’s “Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie” performed in memory of Odetta by the 60-piece Queens College Orchestra conducted by Maurice Peress. The work will be introduced by Nora Guthrie, who commissioned it with support from the Guthrie Foundation, based on her father’s song “This Land is Your Land.” The evening will also mark the New York premiere of an excerpt from the new DVD of Amram’s 1968 comic opera “Twelfth Night” with a libretto by the late Joe Papp, and will be introduced by Bernard Gersten, Executive Producer of the Lincoln Center Theater and former co-producer with Joe Papp of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Selections from Amram’s movie soundtracks, including “Splendor in the Grass” (1960), and the New York premiere of a selection from Amram’s score for “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) will be performed by the Brooklyn Conservatory Jazz Ensemble directed by Earl McIntyre. Amram’s jazz, Latin, Middle-Eastern and world music compositions will be played in memory of Thelonious Monk. The Brooklyn Conservatory Jazz & Gospel Choirs directed by Renee Manning will also perform.

“En memoria de Chano Pozo” for Latin/jazz group and symphony orchestra, conducted by Amram, will be performed in memory of Dizzy Gillespie with guest soloists Candido (congas) and Bobby Sanabria ( timbales), with Amram himself on piano, pennywhistles and percussion. The star-studded salute will also include introductions by Amram’s friends from the worlds of theatre, film and music, including actors Keir Dullea (“2001: A Space Odyssey”), John Ventimiglia (“The Sopranos”), Malachy McCourt and performers from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, as well as filmed 80th birthday wishes from Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, members of the N.Y. Philharmonic, and friends and colleagues from around the country. Guest musicians will include John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), David Broza, Josh White Jr., Larry Kerwin (Black 47), The Imani Winds, the Amram Family Band and current members and alumni of Amram's quartets from the past forty years as well as surprise guests. The concert will be filmed by Lawrence Kraman for his documentary film “David Amram: The First 80 Years.”

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works; numerous scores for Broadway theater and film; two operas, including the groundbreaking 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, published by Paradigm Publishers. 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, in addition to being a renowned improvisational lyricist. Amram has collaborated with Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Johnny Depp, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Tito Puente and Leonard Bernstein, who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966. One of Amram's most recent works, “Giants of the Night,” a flute concerto, was commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway. Today, as he has for over fifty years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages. He celebrates his 80th birthday on November 17th. Additional information at: www.davidamram.com.

Mark Morganelli opened the Jazz Forum, the renowned jazz loft in Greenwich Village, in June 1979. In 1985 he established Jazz Forum Arts, a not-for-profit arts presenting organization, with David Amram, Wynton Marsalis and Dizzy Gillespie among its founding board members. While a student at Bucknell University, Morganelli met David Amram and soon thereafter hosted his 50th birthday celebration in 1980 at the Jazz Forum, continuing to present Amram’s milestone birthday events ever since. Mark Morganelli is regarded by musicians and the jazz pubic as an outstanding jazz impresario, whom Amram considers “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” This will be Jazz Forum Arts’ first event at Symphony Space.

Tickets for DAVID AMRAM: The First 80 Years presented by Jazz Forum Arts on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 7:30pm at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, are: $75, $55 and $35 (members, students, seniors: $70, $50 and $30; children: $65, $45 and $25) and can be purchased at the Symphony Space Box Office, 212.864.5400, or at www.symphonyspace.org. For information about Jazz Forum Arts, call 888.99.BEBOP, or visit www.jazzforumarts.org.

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