Ralph Farris is a Juilliard-trained multi-instrumentalist, conductor, composer, arranger, and record producer. He is a tireless collaborator, whether working as an individual, or as a founding member and Artistic Director of ETHEL, the genre-bending string quartet described by The New York Times as “indefatigable and eclectic,” and by The New Yorker as “vital and brilliant”. That spirit has led to work with a who’s-who of rock stars, filmmakers, choreographers, educators, stage directors and poets.
Ralph has taken part in major collaborations with ETHEL, Robert Mirabal, Molissa Fenley and Frank Cassara, Annie-B Parson,Vijay Iyer, Stewart Copeland, Martin Scorsese (on the shortThe Key to Reserva), and Kurt Elling (on the GRAMMY®-winning album Dedicated to You: the Music of Coltrane and Hartman); toured extensively with Roger Daltrey (as Music Director and lead fiddle), Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson, Ensemble Modern, Bang On A Can, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, and Kaki King; performed in concert with Seiji Ozawa, John Williams, Leonard Bernstein, David Byrne, Thomas Dolby, Tom Verlaine, Jill Sobule, Andrew Bird, Fernando Otero, Jake Shimabukuro, JP Jofre, Pete Townsend, Alice Cooper, Sinead O’Connor, Lou Reed, and Trey Anastasio; conducted The Lion King and Annie on Broadway; composed for film (Noelle Brewer’s short Everything Is Ordinary; Anika Burt’s short Begin Again; Susan Todd’s short The Mother Is the One Who Stretches (with ETHEL); Danièle Wilmouth’s feature Eleanore And The Timekeeper (with ETHEL); Jehane Noujaim’s industrial Pangea Day), for dance (Monkeyhouse), and for the stage (Aquila Theatre’s productions of A Female Philoctetes and The Tempest, Jarrett & Raja, Lawler & Fadoul, the Jerome Foundation, BRIC Arts Media, Arts Brookfield, OZ Nashville, BAM, and the NEA); arranged music for Five For Fighting (the GRAMMY®-nominated hit “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”), Dishwalla, Chantal Kreviazuk, Room 11, Pound, Dayna Kurtz, Lord Graham Russell (of Air Supply), and the University of Michigan; recorded with Paul Simon, Depeche Mode, Ivy, Fountains of Wayne, Regina Carter, Clay Aiken, Rod Stewart, Natalie Merchant, Better than Ezra, and Harry Connick, Jr.; and produced records for ETHEL and the Hevreh Ensemble.
Currently, Ralph is composing a full-length musical, a ballet based on Snow White for Pineapple Dance, performing in his new all-viola quartet Firewood with Gallim Dance in their production of Stone Skipping, touring as part of ETHEL’s production of CIRCUS – Wandering City, which premiered at The Ringling Museum of Art, and producing a series of contemporary classical recordings for composer Stanley Grill.
Ralph endorses Glasser Carbon Fiber Bows. Ralph and ETHEL endorse the AVID family of software solutions.