The films The Young Savages (1961), Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and The Arrangement (1969) all have one thing in common -- their scores were composed by the American jazz musician David Amram. In addition to being brought considerable fame for his association with these pictures, Amram has been recognized for his many other various accomplishments by Moravian College (1979) and St. Lawrence University (1994),Read more both of which awarded him honorary degrees. He composed scores for the New York Shakespeare Festival beginning in 1956 (in association with Joseph Papp), conducted the Brooklyn Philharmonia's youth concerts, was the first composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (1966 - 1967), and visited 25 countries, some with the jazz musicians Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Earl Hines.
Amram's interest in jazz began as a child in school, where he played the piano, trumpet, and horn; during this period he even performed in a Dixieland band and collaborated with Louis Brown. After spending a year at the Oberlin Conservatory (1948), he transferred to George Washington University, where he eventually earned a degree in history (1952). He played with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (1951 - 1952), until a commitment to the United States Army gave him the opportunity to play with the Seventh Army Symphonic Orchestra in Europe. Once back home, he returned to his studies to learn more about composition, at the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a student of Vittorio Giannini, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and Gunther Schuller.
Amram, a composer of many lively and touching dramatic, instrumental, orchestral, and vocal works, published his own autobiography in 1968 entitled Vibrations: The Adventures and Musical Times of David Amram. Among his list of works is the opera The Final Ingredient (1965), the comic opera Twelfth Night (1965 - 1968), over 20 chamber pieces for under five instruments, a Piano Sonata, several cantatas, a Violin Concerto (1980), Across the Wide Missouri: A Musical Tribute to Harry S Truman (1984), and a collection called 3 Songs for Young People (1991). Read less