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Biography

Two distinguished soloists - violinist Elmira Darvarova and saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky have created the AMRAM ENSEMBLE, a new chamber music group.



The two founding members of the Amram Ensemble are honoring their association with David Amram over the years, during which they have performed works by him in Asia, Europe, and across the USA. Details were announced when they performed at the December 21st Gala concert in New York City, celebrating his 85th birthday, and 60th year in New York City.



This new group will also program works of the masters of the 18th and 19th and 20th Century who inspired Amram to take his own unique course in music as a composer and performer, always creating new work that celebrates the treasures of the past and often including the neglected beauties of indigenous music of today.  David Amram has been credited as a pioneer and champion of World Music, decades before it was fashionable to do so. In a review of his Violin Concerto, The New York Times said “David Amram was multi-cultural before multiculturalism existed “.


Elmira Darvarova and Kenneth Radnofsky have commissioned David Amram to create a new work for them, to be premiered in 2016.


The new composition THREE LOST LOVES is a trio for Violin, Alto  Saxophone and Piano. 


The three movements are based on romances in the novels of three great 20th Century American authors from different eras, all three of whom celebrated the unsung beauties of small town and rural America and the richness of the people who appeared in their novels as characters, and  who dared to have loving relationships and whose love stories now live on in the books of Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston and Jack Kerouac.


 THREE LOST LOVES for violin, alto saxophone and piano will  be world-premiered  by Elmira Darvarova, Kenneth Radnofsky and the Amram Ensemble’s principal pianist Thomas Weaver  on October 2, 2016 at the ZKM Cultural Center in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Each of the three movements reflect the spirit of the time and place where these romances took place, and are inspired by the characters created by the authors.


l   Allegro Moderato      Antonia and Bill from My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)


Andante Cantabile    Janie and Tea Cake from Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)


Allegro con Brio        Terry and Sal from On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)


     Programming by the Amram Ensemble will also include special guest artists invited by the group’s two founders, and will also program, in addition to music  by David Amram, selected compositions by today’s young composers.


    Whenever possible, David Amram will also be part of the Ensemble's presentations. And when the members of the Ensemble’s own busy schedules permit, Amram will include them in his own programs and events in which he participates around the world. 





BIOS OF THE AMRAM ENSEMBLE MEMBERS:



ELMIRA DARVAROVA, Grammy-nominated Concert Violinist



A concert violinist since the age of four, ELMIRA DARVAROVA (former Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, and the first and only woman-concertmaster in the MET’s history), performs worldwide to great acclaim and is a Grammy-nominated recording artist. A prizewinner of several international competitions, and a British Council scholar, she studied with Henryk Szeryng and Joseph Gingold. She caused a sensation becoming the first ever woman-concertmaster in the history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She toured Europe, Japan and the United States with the MET Orchestra, and was heard on the MET's live weekly international radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, CDs and laser discs on the Sony, Deutsche Grammophon and EMI labels. As concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra she has performed with many of the most prominent conductors of all time, including the legendary Carlos Kleiber. Appearing in concert halls and at festivals on four continents, she is well-versed in all kinds of genres, having performed opera at the MET, having shared the stage for symphonic and chamber concerts with giants of the music world such as James Levine, Janos Starker, Gary Karr and Pascal Rogé, as well as with tango and jazz legends such as Octavio Brunetti, Fernando Otero and David Amram, and, in collaboration with eminent Indian classical musicians - the superstars of the Sarod - Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan. She has been concerto soloist with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras in Europe and America. She has also appeared with the MET Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall under James Levine. A documentary film about her life and career was shown on European TV.  She can be heard on a number of labels, including Deutsche Grammophon (as concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). One of her CDs (world-premiere chamber music by René de Castéra released by the French label Azur Classical) was named a RECORD OF THE YEAR 2015 by Music-Web International. She is Artistic Director of the New York Chamber Music Festival, and leader of the New York Piano Quartet, performs  with the Delphinium Trio, the Quinteto del fuego, the Amram Ensemble, and in a duo with the acclaimed virtuoso pianist/composer & Grammy winner Fernando Otero. The STRAD Magazine has praised her “silky-smooth, voluptuous sound” and wrote of her “intoxicating tonal beauty and beguilingly sensuous phrasing”, while Gramophone Magazine hailed her “ultra-impassioned, vividly detailed performances”, and featured an interview with her regarding her world premiere recording of the Vernon Duke violin concerto (written for Heifetz 75 years ago) with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.  More info at: www.elmiradarvarova.com





KENNETH RADNOFSKY, Saxophone



Kenneth Radnofsky has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras throughout the world, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, Jerusalem Symphony with Gisele Ben-Dor and Boston Pops with John Williams.  Radnofsky gave the world premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony (composer conducting). David Amram's Concerto, 'Ode to Lord Buckley,' was premiered with the Portland Symphony, under Bruce Hangen's direction.  Of the 100 plus works he has commissioned, Radnofsky has premiered the concerti of Michael Colgrass, Donald Martino, Michael Gandolfi, Betty Olivero, James Yannatos, Baris Perker, Elliott Schwartz, Yang Yong, and Allen Johnson, as well as chamber music by **David Amram, Larry Bell, Milton Babbitt, Ezra Sims, Pasquale Tassone, Armand Qualliotine, Roger Bourland, Michael Horvit, John McDonald, Christian Yufra, Juan Ruiz, Armand Qualliotine, Jaime Fatas, Pasquale Tassone, Shih-Hui Chen, Lei Liang, Jakov Jakoulov, and an innovative commission of John Harbison for a Sonata, premiered by 43 saxophonists world-wide in an effort founded/organized by Radnofsky entitled World-Wide Concurrent Premieres, Inc.  He is President of the Boston Woodwind Society, providing assistance to woodwind students, succeeding its late founder Matthew Ruggiero. He is partner with Michael Couper in RCEditions.

 

Kenneth Radnofsky's teachers were Joseph Allard, Jeffrey Lerner, David Salge, Steven Hoyle, Terry Anderson and Duncan Hale. He teaches at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Bard College, Boston University, and world-wide, including China, Taiwan and South America.  He is a Selmer Artist.  For more information please visit his website at: www.KenRadnofsky.com  



**American Love Stories is the FOURTH work!  composer David Amram has written for\commissioned by Ken Radnofsky, the previous being 'Prologue and Scherzo (solo), Concerto 'Ode to Lord Buckley,' and 'Greenwich Village Portraits (Saxophone and Piano).







THOMAS WEAVER    

Pianist | Composer


Thomas Weaver is an American pianist and composer currently based in New York City. A native of Marlton, NJ, a suburb of Philadelphia, he began his study of piano at the age of eight, giving his first public performance at the age of nine. Weaver's playing has been hailed as displaying "sensitivity" and "deep resonance," as well as "incredible dexterity." He has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, appearing in recitals both in the United States and abroad. He has been heard in concert halls in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Nashville, Florida, New Hampshire, Tanglewood, Germany, and others. Weaver has performed alongside many distinguished musicians, including Kenneth Radnofsky, Eric Ruske, Jennifer Bill, Klaudia Szlachta, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. A champion of new music, Weaver has premiered the works of his colleagues both in the United States and abroad. In 2014, through the work of Kenneth Radnofsky’s World-wide Concurrent Premieres organization, Weaver had the opportunity to perform David Amram’s Greenwich Village Portraits during the premiere period with multiple saxophonists. Many composers have also written works especially for him, most recently including Passacaglia by Christopher LaRosa.

Also an award-winning composer, Weaver’s works have been heard throughout the United States and Germany. He has written for a variety of mediums, including solo, chamber, orchestral, vocal, and stage works. His musical language blends a love of Romantic timing and phrasing with the harmonic and motivic language of Modernism. He has had works performed by many musicians and ensembles, including Alea III, the Mannes American Composers Ensemble, the Boston University Symphony Orchestra, Klaudia Szlachta, and others. Weaver was the winner of the Boston University Composition Competition and was recently awarded the Bohuslav Martinu Composition Award for his orchestral piece, Landscapes. Five Sketches for Piano was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Competition. Recently, Weaver went on United Stated tour with tubist, Joshua deVries, performing Sonata for Tuba and Piano. An active educator, Weaver has given lectures and master classes at a variety of locations throughout the United States. He has presented at Northwestern University, Murray State University, The People's Music School in Chicago, York Community High School, and others. Weaver is on faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA. He is a staff pianist and

accompanist at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Mannes College The New School for Music. He holds a Master of Music degree in both Piano Performance and Composition from Mannes College, and a Bachelor of Music degree in both disciplines, summa cum laude, from Boston University. His primary piano teachers include Anthony di Bonaventura, Victor Rosenbaum, and Pavel Nersessian. His primary composition instructors include David Loeb, Dr. John Wallace, Dr. Martin Amlin, and Jonathan Coopersmith. For more information please visit www.thomaseweaver.com.





DAVID AMRAM, DISTINGUISHED COMPOSER/MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST



David Amram started his professional life in music in the early 1950s playing French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton. Appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first Composer In Residence for the New York Philharmonic in 1966, he also composed the scores for the films Pull My Daisy (1959), Splendor In The Grass (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).  He composed the scores for Joseph Papp's Shakespeare In The Park from 1956-1967 and again worked with Papp on the comic opera 12th Night in 1968.  He also wrote a second opera, The Final Ingredient, An Opera of the Holocaust, for ABC Television in 1965.  From 1964-66, Amram was the Composer and Music Director for the Lincoln Center Theatre and wrote the score for Arthur Miller's play After The Fall (1964).

A prolific composer for over 50 years, his most recent symphonic compositions include This Land, Symphonic Variations On A Song By Woody Guthrie (2007), commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation and recently performed by the Colorado Symphony with Amram conducting and recorded by Newport Classics in 2015; Giants of the Night (2002) commissioned and first premiered by flutist Sir James Galway; Kokopeli, A Symphony in Three Movements (1995), premiered by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra with Amram conducting; and Three Songs, A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2009).

He has also collaborated as a composer with Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Eugene Ormandy, Langston Hughes and Jacques D'Amboise and as a musician with Thelonious Monk, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Betty Carter, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Paquito D’Rivera and Tito Puente.  In 1957, he created and performed in the first ever Jazz/Poetry readings in New York City with novelist Jack Kerouac, a close friend with whom Amram collaborated artistically for over 12 years.  Since the early 1950s, he has traveled the world extensively, working as a musician and a conductor in over thirty-five countries including Cuba, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Latvia and China.  He also regularly crisscrosses the United States including annual sojourns to Lowell (Massachusetts), Okemah (Oklahoma), New Orleans (Louisiana) and Denver, Colorado as a featured performer at musical and literary festivals.

Amram is the author of three memoirs all published by Paradigm-Routledge Press, Nine Lives of a Musical Cat (2009), Collaborating With Kerouac (2005) and the highly acclaimed Vibrations (1968, 2007).  His archive of professional and personal papers were recently acquired by the Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts Branch of the New York Public Library. And, he was recently the subject of the full length feature documentary David Amram: The First Eighty Years, which is available on Vimeo On Demand.

In 2011, Amram was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame as recipient of the The Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2013 he was presented with Clearwater’s Pete and Toshi Seeger Annual Power of Song Award.  And in 2015, The Theater For The New City honored him with their annual Love and Courage Award.  In recognition of his enormous achievements and continuing contributions to the cultural life of New York, Brooklyn College presented David Amram with an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.


This biography was most recently edited by...
elmiradarvarova - 5 May 2016
Unknown - 6 Jan 2016
elmiradarvarova - 27 Dec 2015
elmiradarvarova - 27 Dec 2015
elmiradarvarova - 27 Dec 2015
elmiradarvarova - 25 Dec 2015
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