He is a composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist born David Werner Amram III in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father taught him cantorial and classical music while his uncle introduced him to jazz artists and took him to see many of them in person.
He began taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old, and experimented with the trumpet and tuba before deciding to concentrate on the French horn.
In 1948 he spent a year at Oberlin Conservatory of Music but also earned a Bachelors degree in European history from George Washington University. During these years he was an extra horn player with the National Symphony Orchestra.
From 1952 to 1954 he was with the United States army in Europe and he played with the Seventh Army Symphony. While he was posted in Paris he devoted himself to composition and played with Lionel Hampton’s band along with other jazz groups.
On his return to the US he attended the Manhattan School of Music and also wrote the music for, and acted in, the film Pull My Daisy, which was narrated by Jack Kerouac. He was asked to write further scores once this work had been heard and his best-known works are in The Manchurian Candidate and Splendor in the Grass.
In 2011 he was inducted in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame where he was also awarded with the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award for his 60 year career as on of the first jazz French horn artists and a pioneering conductor in bringing jazz and classical music together.
n 2016, in celebration of his 60 years as a film composer, the UK label Moochin’ About released a 5CD collection of his film scores.
Centaur CRC 2622 (Twentieth Century American Music)
Piano – Barbara Meister