David Dramm

Composer Songwriter

David Dramm (b.1961) was born in Illinois, growing up in San Diego, California. The international press has dubbed him an ‘American iconoclast.’ The Dutch press describe his music as ‘the ground-breaking terrain between Charles Ives, Jimi Hendrix and Lou Reed.’ His omnivorous vocal music output led the newspaper Trouw to recently proclaim him ‘The King of Song.’

His composition studies began with Robert Erickson at University of California, San Diego and, later, at Yale University with Louis Andriessen and Earle Brown.

His music is performed regularly in international concert halls, festivals and clubs as well as being used by choreographers and theater makers throughout Europe. Major festival performances has included Holland Festival, Warsaw Autumn, New Music Days in Zürich, Tallinn and Bratislava, Huddersfield Festival, Freunde Guter Musik in Berlin, Woch Der Niederländischen Musik in Leipzig, Moers Festival, EXPO in Biel, the Finnish ‘Time of Music’ Festival, Bulgarian Music Days, November Music and the New York-based Bang on a Can Festival.

Major commissions include works for Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, ASKO/Schoenberg Ensemble, Steamboat Switzerland, Aurelia Saxophone Quartet and soloists such as Frances-Marie Uitti, HK Gruber, Marco Blaauw, Anne La Berge, Tatiana Koleva, Monica Germino, and Tomoko Mukaiyama.

Dance and theatre collaborations have included Club Guy & Roni, TANZmainz, Göteborg Opera and Dance Company, Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel, Bianca van Dillen, Scapino Ballet and Orkater.

His 1992 “Master Bop Blaster” for rapper and saxophone quartet has become a unlikely standard work, performed around the world from Sydney to South Korea. Among his larger works, the hour-long ‘Orange Slice’ for nine musicians is regularly performed in prominent festivals such as Moers (Germany), November Music, EXPO in Biel and in a Carte Blanche evening in the 2007 Holland Festival. Other well-known works include “Baton Rouge Massacre” for Electra and the electric oratorio “My Visions of Madame Blavatsky.”

A number of forays into rock music have produced cd’s by the now defunct avant-rock trio, Analecta and music for the Dutch multiple guitar ensemble Kleg. Dramm’s daringly unconventional arrangements for artists such as John Cale, Low, Ellen ten Damme and Junkie XL have been widely broadcast and recorded. As Cale said, “I have blind faith in David’s ideas, even before I’ve heard them.”

Among his many collaborators are filmmaker David Lammers (Langer Licht, Helen Barbara, Veere), video installation artist Arent Weevers, writers Hafid Bouazza and Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer and New York Band of Susans guitarist/producer Robert Poss. His annual collaboration with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble was broadcast internationally on television and radio on New Year’s Day from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Recordings of his music are available on WERGO, BVHaast, Vanguard Classics, Challenge, ATTACCA, Einstein, New World, NBE Live and Composer’s Voice. Dramm’s music is published by Donemus and VOLSAP Music.

Dramm is a founding member of the innovative musician-collective space Splendor in Amsterdam, where he lives and works.