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Ray Farr


I was brought up in a musical family and started playing the cornet at an early age playing in the Hereford Salvation Army band, where my father was the Bandmaster.  I joined The NYBBGB. in the 1963 and my first course was in Birmingham with Dr Denis Wright.

Following my time in the NYBBGB I studied trumpet at the Birmingham School of Music and later, the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1969 I gained a position in the BBC Midland Light Orchestra where the conductor was Gilbert Vinter. Later I joined the BBC Radio Orchestra in London, also working with the top London orchestras for concerts, film sessions, TV and records.

In 1979 I accepted a full-time position as Resident Conductor with Grimethorpe Colliery Band, winning several contests and playing concerts all over the UK and abroad including a concert tour of Australia, which climaxed in a performance of “Pictures from an Exhibition” in the Sydney Opera House.

During my time at Grimethorpe I was encouraged, by Elgar Howarth, to write music and I now have more than 100 published works. Following my time at Grimethorpe I developed a successful career as a freelance conductor and was pleased to return to The NYBBGB as Guest Conductor in 1982 with the band’s first ever performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 1990 I moved to Norway where I continued my conducting career with number of bands and orchestras, including the National Youth Bands of Wales, Holland, New Zealand and Norway. In 2003 I joined the staff at the Durham University as ‘Conductor in Residence’, teaching arranging and conducting.

In 2014, I retired from full time teaching and moved back to Norway to continue my freelance career. I have been awarded “Conductor of the Year” (2004), Iles Medal (2019), PhD (2022) and the BUMA Award (2023).

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