[ the story so far(r)... ]
Ray Farr (born 1948) was brought up in a musical family in the small town of Hereford, England. He started playing the cornet at the age of 6, and studied at the Birmingham School of Music (with John Lamb) and at the Royal Academy of Music (with William Overton), where he played 1st trumpet in the academy's orchestra. During this period he was frequently featured as a soloist with different brass bands, wind bands and orchestras.
During this time Ray was also encouraged by Elgar Howarth, to start writing music. One of his first arrangements was "Star Wars", by John Williams, which soon led to a string of successful and popular arrangements. Early on, BBC`s Frank Renton called him: "Ray of the magic pen", and now, after hundreds of successes, bands and orchestras regularly play his pieces which range in style from Stravinsky's "Firebird" to Zappa's "Dog Breath Variations".
In 1984 Ray took up a freelancing career, having developed a reputation as a stylish conductor and a planner of interesting concert programmes ranging from light music to "avant-garde". During this time he appeared as a guest conductor all over Europe, working with the National Youth Bands of England and Switzerland and several European Gala concerts.
In 1988 Ray won a special Arts Council Award to study contemporary music with Edward Gregson and Jorma Panula, Professor of Orchestral Conducting at Helsinki's Sibelius Academy. In 1990 he moved to Stavanger, Norway to accept a conducting position with the city music school's Youth Orchestra where he was able to combine regular conducting positions with guest conducting invitations. During this time he worked with the National Youth Bands of Norway and Eikanger Bjørsvik Musikklag (http://www.ebml.no/), who flew him to Bergen twice a week for rehearsals and concerts. He became involved with wind bands and was appointed Chief Conductor with the Trondheim Military Band and conductor of the National Youth Wind band of Norway.
The Sandnes Symphony Orchestra (Norway) appointed Ray as Chief Conductor in 1992. Ray took the opportunity to develop in the fields of opera, ballet and oratorio which opened the doors to the bigger orchestral world and guest conducting with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra (Norway).
In 1995 his affection for Eikanger Bjørsvik Musikklag caused him
to move to Bergen, where he accepted a position as their Musical Director.
With them he has given many innovative performances of a wide variety
of music on stage, TV, radio, and CD – most notably the "Best
by Farr" series. During this time he maintained his freelance conducting
career and travelled the world visiting the National Youth Brass Band
of New Zealand and working in Japan, Australia and America.
Ray has been on Raymond Gubbay`s conductors roster since 2006, and is working closely with the concert promoters on large scale productions (http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk) particularly at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester
In 2009 Ray was appointed Musical Director/Principal Conductor of the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra. A position he combines with conducting and teaching duties at Durham University
Alongside his research for a PhD in music, Ray has recently written a
book on conducting. (http://www.jagrins.com/).
As a conductor:
• Moira Anderson (vocal), Eva Knardal (piano), Haakan Hardenberger (trumpet), Ole Edvard Antonsen (trumpet), Sissel Kyrkjebø (vocal), Henning Kraggerud (violin), Sveinung Bjelland (piano), Don Lusher (trombone), Ian Bousfield (trombone), Maurice Murphy (trumpet), Rod Franks (trumpet)
• BBC Northern Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Sandnes Symphony Orchestra (Norway), Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (Norway), Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra (Norway)
• BBC Midland Light Orchestra, Orchestra de Camera, BBC Welsh Symphony,
Simon Rattle, Antal Doráti, Sir John Barbirolli, Maurice Handford, Villem Tausky, Elgar Howarth, Bramwell Tovey
• Stanley Black, Bob Farnon, Neil Richardson, Ron Goodwin, Carl Davis
- Warner Chappell
copyright © 2000 Ray Farr
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