DAVID AMRAM                                                                                                                 



OHV 6 a-d

Major Figures in American Music

Interviewed by Vivian Perlis

June 18 and 28, 1978


Cassette Side a                                                                                                                                                     

Transcript pp. 1-18


Childhood -- father's career -- uncle's interest in American Indian music -- visit to India, making music with people -- Trail of Beauty -- awareness of one's culture -- music for Elia Kazan movie, clarinetist -- music as something old -- "the human cry" -- also in Beethoven -- not chance operations -- need composers' and conductors' liberation movement -- Ives -- beauty of folk music -- need to teach different musics in grade school -- rock 'n roll turned into corporate monster --folk festivals --recordings --good composers all over country, no outlet --need for regional pride --idealism/realism -- performing in inner-city schools -- not cheapening, but life-giving music.


Cassette Side b                                                                                                                                                     

Transcript pp. 18-37

Criminal to promote bad music -- air-wave pollution -- PBS Soundstage program -- activities feed into composing -- Cuban rhythmic awareness -- conducting other composers' works -- Mitropoulos -- programming new music -- audience participation -- Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Michael Colgrass -- Philadelphia Orchestra, Amram's piece -- American Indian polyrhythms -- "Let not the oppressed become the oppressor" -- composers lucky to have works played -- should study conducting -- James Chambers -- university music -- Henry Cowell -- Persian Set -- Bartok, Kodaly.


Transcript Cassette Side c                                                                                                                                                      

Transcript pp. 38-56


Born November 17, 1930, Philadelphia -- listening to jazz, classical, folk on radio -- respect for different cultures -- Triple Concerto -- cellists belly dancing -- need to really listen -- Jewish background, Middle East -- tear in the voice -- anti-Semitism -- Texas Folk Festival -- composing like woodcarving or sculpting -- Eastern concept of music -- music must have value -- book of folk rhythms of the world -- playing in high schools.


Transcript Cassette Side d                                                                                                                                                     

Transcript pp.56-75


Painting a picture of a tradition -- composers as servants -- composers should sit in the orchestra -- continuing to learn -- ethical component -- performing as catalyst -- conducting own works -- financial security -- Hollywood -- C. F. Peters -- Passover opera for television -- Shakespeare in the Park -- new piece based on Central American music -- piece for Joffrey Ballet.





OHV 6 g-j

Major Figures in American Music

Interviewed by Jenny Raymond

Peekskill, N.Y.

February 13, 2002


Cassette Side g                                                                                                           

Transcript pp. 1-21


Amram's farm--his interests: lyrical and world music--the international quality of the arts--Austro-Hungarian tradition vs. nationalistic music--Oberlin and Manhattan School--Austro-Hungarian intellectual approach towards music--playing with his jazz group--refusing an offer to make a recording with the Jefferson Airplane and the Chicago Symphony--trying to bring the different elements of music together from different cultures--Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony--other examples of composers using folkloric music--giving credit to musical sources--flute concerto for James Galway--fascination with natural sounds--his compositional voice--Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern--Villa-Lobos--music in academia--standards in music--Dirge and Variations--Three Songs from Marlboro--"Shakespeare in the Park" music--purity of intent--an exquisite choice of notes--world music--John Zorn--Jewish music--Milton Nam--merchant seaman uncle--Trail of Beauty--Honor Song for Sitting Bull.


Cassette Side h                                                                                                           

Transcript pp. 21-41


An honoring song--Richard Archuletta [sp]--tum kwa hay  [sp]--playing with a Cuban guagua anco group--Tito Puente and other Latin musicians--visiting Pakistan and India--making contact with other world musicians--his philosophy--incorporating pre-existing musical material in his music--Violin Concerto--playing at an Irish bar--ornamentation and peculiarities of different musical traditions--American Dance Suite--Cheyenne Song--Sacred Service--audience response--being chosen as composer-in-residence of NY Philharmonic--music in the sixties--Missa Manhattan--Trail of Beauty--multiculturalism--experiencing music from other places--playing at the Lafayette Bar and Grill--jazz--Piano Sonata.


Cassette Side i                                                                                                             

Transcript pp. 41-60


Attitude of some people in government towards world cultures--experience with the recording industry--book, Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac--American Dance Suite--Theme and Variations on Red River Valley--Violin Sonata--Ode to Lord Buckley--opera The Final Ingredient--Sibelius computer program--C.F. Peters--recordings--compositions in progress--compositional process--notation--Mahler's Fourth slow movement--singing while composing, then moving to a more critical phase of work--video: The Origins of Symphonic Instruments--programs with orchestras; introducing the instruments--piece for James Galway--trio--"Back on the Bowery 40 years later"--improvisation--Southern Stories--Kokopelli--Dualogue--freestyling.


Cassette Side j                                                                                                             

Transcript pp. 60-73


Relationship  with other musicians and musics--Sasha Schneider--Rudolf Serkin--Willie Nelson--Dizzy Gillespie--Taj Mahal--becoming a conductor--film scores; Manchurian Candidate  and Splendor in the Grass--doing Young People's Concerts--International Jewish Arts Festival--more  on conducting experiences--Leopold Stokowski--university positions--being mentioned in a Raffi song.

Additional material about this interviewee may be available. For more information on the contents of the collection, email oham@yale.edu.