Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Farr, Gary (Gary Ferriera)
Farr, Gary [Gary Ferriera], pianist, composer, arranger, conductor; b. Miami, FL, 28 August 1952. The family name was changed by his father James Phillip Ferriera (b. 1915) to Farr. His mother Elisa Severino (b. 1920) had three children before divorcing in the late 1950s. Brother James Daniel Farr (b. 1942 MA.) and sister Mira Nell Farr (b. 1945 FL.) had all lived in Miami. Gary started playing piano at the age of 6. His training started from private piano lessons to four years of college (Miami-Dade, Barry College and University of South Florida). He worked his way through college playing in and forming local bands and backing up shows. While attending the University of South Florida in Tampa in 1974-75, he formed a group called 'The Tampa Jazz Quintet'. Ever since then, jazz has permanently been in his soul. Jazz great Oscar Peterson has been Gary's main influence through the years as well as Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk and Chick Corea. He trained classically before his interest in jazz was brought to his attention. He continued studying classical and jazz from various professors.
While at Barry Collage, Gary composed, orchestrated and conducted the musical drama The Cracked Circle. Gary transferred to USF in his forth year and studied music composition as his major while organizing and playing in jazz bands. During his forth year of college, he took time off (1974) to tour and record an LP with Jamaican singer Alston Bair in the Caribbean and Miami Beach before returning to USF to finish his studies. In 1974, he married music major and fellow student Shirley Ann Walls. They had one son Edward Matthew Farr (b. 1975 Tampa, FL) together--as Matt Farr, he is now a singer/songwriter on his father's label. Gary worked in nightclubs and hotels with either his own jazz quartet or with other commercial bands while attending school in Tampa.
Moving back to South Florida, in 1978 he recorded his first solo piano LP while working on board the Leonardo Da Vinci cruise liner. In 1979 Gary was divorced by his first wife and he married British singer Samantha St. Claire, legal name Debra Mary Eason who became known as Samantha Farr in the US. They worked together for 20 years before divorcing in 1999. Gary played piano and keyboards in supper clubs, hotels and resorts like Caesars in Atlantic City. It wasn't until 1995 Gary got serious again with his jazz and recordings. Gary made a successful debut at the Mojazz Cafe in Miami Beach, Florida the summer of 95'. The band played gigs locally and at the Palm Beach Sunfest he released his first jazz CD. In 2001 Gary married Nora Marta Garcia (author of The Lightbearers) in Miami. They moved from Ft Lauderdale, Florida to Los Angeles CA. in Dec. 2002 where Gary is spending his energies composing for Film, TV and multimedia.
From 1974-78, he was an independent musician/arranger/conductor in Miami, FL, and a pianist/conductor for several entertainers touring the Caribbean. He performed as a solo pianist during this time.
He was a band leader/musician for the Peter Fox Agency in Miami, FL from 1978-1985, entertaining in clubs and showrooms around the world.
From 1985-2002, he was president and musician for Secret Formula Entertainers, Inc. Hollywood, FL, establishing a full time entertainment agency for bands within the south Florida area performing social and corporate functions.
From 1998-2004, he has been president, musician, recording artist, and composer for Secret Formula Records, Inc. Wellington, Fl-Los Angeles, CA. In 2001, created a new division, GF Creative Music, for composing and scoring original music for TV and film companies. Founded record company and studio promoting independent artist and musicians. Recorded several CD's as well as other artists from Jazz, Classical, New Age, Christian, Rock and Electronica.
The First (1977); The Golf Album (1990); The Aerie Suites (1993); The Gentle Awakening (1999); Lost (1999); To Be Free (2000); Deep As The Night (2001); Fresh Brew (2001); Dreaming of Marching Fireflies I-IV (2003)
Credits : Composer, Orchestrator, Producer, Pianist, Conductor; Alston Blair: The Big Bamboo (1975); Samantha Farr: New Horizons (1986); These are the Children-Kids in Crisis (1996); Jeanne Tarrant: Dance of the Blessed Spirits (co-producer) (2001); Matt Farr: Shift (2001); Uni-Reversal Group (Jabalopa (2002); Debra Elenbaum: Thanks for Taking the Time (2002); Ron Fattorusso: Up All Night (2004)
TV, Film, Theater and Multimedia:
Pray Another Day (film) original score 2003
The System (film) original score 2003
The Cracked Circle (musical drama theater) original score/conductor (1973)
Just A Chance (film) original score (1992)
Control (film) original score (1992)
Guardian Warriors (TV pilot) original score (1993)
Monti Rock III TV Talk Show arranger/artist (1994)
The Weather Channel music placement/composer/artist (2003)
ESPN sports music placement/composer/artist (2003)
To Be Free new age video composer, pianist (not published) (1999)
Heart Rate Fitness Video - original score/artist (1994)
Video Magic Production Theme composer, artist (1995)
Other Music Compositions:
The Sun Symphony in Eb Major (1999)
Wedding March in Ab Major (2001)
The Wedding Day (2001)
Walking in the Rain (2001)
As of Feb. 14, 2003