Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Musical icon David Amram to give free performance at Stetson University

#JazzBluesFlorida #jazz #blues #Florida #Concerts #Festivals #Clubs

Composer-conductor-instrumentalist-author David Amram, a world music pioneer, will offer a free public performance/presentation, “At Home Around the World,” from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, at Stetson University’s new Mary B. McMahan Hall, located at North Woodland Boulevard (U.S. Highway 17-92) and East Michigan Avenue, adjacent to Presser Hall.
Hailed by the Boston Globe as “the Renaissance man of American music,” Amram will be joined on stage by Stetson University School of Music students for the afternoon event. His visit is sponsored by the university’s James Turner Butler Creative Lecture Series.

Amram plans to bring and play instruments from many countries he has visited, to show how they are emblematic of cultures and to illustrate how musical genres and instruments can be multidisciplinary learning tools.

“I hope I can show that music is also a gateway to learning about other aspects of life, and that everyone has a creative gift to offer,” Amram said in an e-mail. “I hope that students from different disciplines will want to spend time with one another after I leave, to share their respective areas of expertise, and to feel that education begins in college and continues for one’s lifetime.”

The multifaceted Amram will collaborate with students earlier in the day when he meets with an Improvisation class. Some of those students will join him on stage for the free performance. Amram also will spend time with student composers.

“Amram has worked with jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and Charles Mingus,” noted Dr. Manuel de Murga, director of Composition at Stetson who helped arrange Amram’s visit. “He said he will present the use of improvisation as ‘a positive way of survival … and that can be helpful for everyone.’ Amram’s wide-ranging musical perspective – film scores, jazz, theater, folkloric performance, symphonic works – will be of great interest to Stetson’s composers.”

Composer of more than 100 chamber and orchestral works, Amram grew up in Passagrille, Fla., and has said he discovered his “innate creativity” in elementary school there. He has written operas and Broadway and film scores, including the score for the 1959 documentary “Pull My Daisy,” which was narrated by beat novelist Jack Kerouac. Amram also is a recording artist, guest conductor and author and has appeared on national TV on numerous occasions, including seven times at Farm Aid. He was composer-in-residence of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where he offered several performances including his “Themes and Variations on Amazing Grace.” He plays French horn, piano, flute, percussion and dozens of folkloric instruments, and continues to compose and collaborate in multiple genres with a new generation of artists.

“David Amram has been a major voice in American music – all kinds of American music – for a long time, and it is an honor to welcome him into our community, said Dr. Sydney Hodkinson, Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson who also helped coordinate the visit.

The James Turner Butler Creative Lectureship is funded by an annual gift from David T. Warner in honor of his grandfather, James Turner Butler, a Stetson alumnus (BA, 1902; J.D. 1904). The gift also honors the Stetson legacy of other family members, including James S. Turner, a member of Stetson’s original Board of Trustees (1885-1904), and Etter McTeer Turner (B.A. 1935), long-time dean of women and dean of students.

The program supports a campus visit or residency by a creative writer or artist who interacts with students and faculty and gives a public reading or lecture. The emphasis is on creativity rather than academic work. A faculty committee oversees selection of each year’s Butler Creative Lecturer.

Warner is the founder of Bellamy Road, a center for fine arts, literature and film near Melrose and Amram’s destination after he leaves Stetson. Amram is taking part in Bellamy Road’s monthlong celebration of the Beat artists and writers.

Warner is also a contributor to regional and national magazines, a writer and producer of travel films and the author of Vanishing Florida: A Personal Guide to Sights Rarely Seen, High-Sheriff Jim Turner and Bimini: Tales of an Island Getaway.

Stetson University
Office of Public Relations and Communications
421 North Woodland Boulevard
DeLand, Florida 32723
Email Address : cferritt@stetson.edu
Phone Number : 386.822.8920


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