Acclaimed conductor/composer David Amram to lecture, conduct at Fairfield University

Acclaimed conductor/composer David Amram to lecture, conduct at Fairfield University

Conductor/composer David Amram will conclude a five-month residency at Fairfield University later this month by giving a public lecture on master composer Leonard Bernstein and conducting and performing in "An Evening of Bernstein to Amram," a much-anticipated concert with the University's Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Theatre Fairfield. Part of the ongoing Leonard Bernstein Festival, the concert will feature some of Bernstein's beloved scores, works by Amram, Gershwin and Schubert, and dramatic readings of some of The Maestro's favorite poems.

Once dubbed "the Renaissance man of American music" by The Boston Globe, Amram will lecture on Jewish heritage and how it has influenced both his and Bernstein's music on Thursday, March 30, at 12:30 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Bernstein appointed Amram as the first composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic and Amram will reflect on his years with The Maestro in the one-hour talk, co-sponsored by the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield.

On Friday, March 31, Amram will take center stage at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts for "An Evening of Bernstein to Amram," which begins at 7:30 p.m. The eclectic program offers something for everyone from Bernstein's soaring "West Side Story Suite" to Gershwin's "Summertime" to Amram's own "In Memory of Chano Pozo." Amram will conduct the Orchestra, play piano and horn with a small jazz ensemble and provide piano accompaniment for four Theatre Fairfield actors reading from great poetry.

In addition, the Orchestra will take on Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" with guest conductor Netta Hadari, co-founder of the Quick Center's Live Music Project, at the podium.

Since his appointment with the Philharmonic in 1966, Amram has been one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, having been listed by BMI as one of the Twenty Most Performed Composers of Concert Music in the United States since 1974. He has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works and written two operas and, early in his career, he wrote many theater and film scores, including "Splendor in the Grass" and "The Manchurian Candidate."

For 29 seasons, Amram was the music director of Young People's, Family and Free Summer concert programs for the Brooklyn Philharmonic and he has conducted and narrated concerts around the world.

A noted soloist, who has performed with some of the world great orchestras and ensembles, Amram plays French horn, piano, guitar, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion and a variety of folkloric instruments from 25 countries. A pioneer of World Music, he often combines the sound of European classics with jazz, Latin, Middle Eastern and Native American influences in his compositions.

"David Amram has maintained open ears throughout his adventurous career," said music critic Donald Rosenberg. "As a composer, the Philadelphia native has traveled a vast landscape, embracing classical and jazz, concert and opera films and theater."

Always open to new musical experiences, Amram has collaborated with an eclectic group of performers from Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus to Willie Nelson, Jack Kerouac and Arthur Miller. He appeared seven times with Nelson for Farm Aid and has been featured on many news and talk programs, including "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Today Show," and "CBS Sunday Morning."

A longtime supporter of music education, Amram created the video "Origins of Symphonic Instruments," which has been used in more than 6,000 schools in the United States and Canada. He chronicled his legendary music/poetry collaborations with Kerouac in his book "Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac" and the live jazz recording, "Kerouac and Amram: Pull My Daisy."

Known as a tireless creative spirit, Amram continues to push musical boundaries. In recent years, he has premiered a flute concerto, "Giants of the Night," with James Galway and "Kokopelli: A Symphony in Three Movements" with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. He also worked with author Frank McCourt on "Missa Manhattan," a piece for narrator, chorus and orchestra, and wrote the score for the award-winning documentary "Boys of Winter," a film by Mark Reese about his father, famed Brooklyn Dodger PeeWee Reese, and teammate Carl Erskine. Having spent time with the versatile virtuoso, Reese is now working on a new documentary - on David Amram.

Tickets to the March 30 lecture are $5. Tickets to the March 31 concert are $10 for the general public, $5 for members of the University community. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit

Posted On: 03-03-2006 10:03 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 181