by Ann M. Colofrd & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & K & lt;/span & elly Farris doesn't like to talk about himself. Invariably, he steers the conversation toward stories about other people, especially other musicians he's worked with.
On Bruce Ferden: & r & "He transformed the orchestra. Our first two years with Bruce were difficult. He was extremely demanding, and it took us two years to finally give him something of what he wanted in terms of passion, intensity and commitment. I think it permanently changed the orchestra, just in expanding our range of acting ability [and] the highs and lows of intensity. And he demanded it. That was not easy for a lot of us. But after that, he had the orchestra on his side. That doesn't mean he didn't get frustrated.... But Bruce had the chops."
On Fabio Mechetti: & r & "He came [as guest conductor] during [the 1986-87] season, I think, for a program with [clarinetist] Richard Stoltzman doing the Corigliano concerto. The thing I remember about that was Fabio -- who's one of the great musicians I've met -- solfeged the entire clarinet part; he sang it, but he sang the do-re-mi-fa-sol syllables."
He sang the entire concerto?
"Yes. While he was conducting. So as far as being in awe of somebody, that was just another elevation of him in my esteem. ... He was good at [solfege]. If there was a solfege Olympics, he'd be there with a gold medal for Brazil."
On Donald Thulean: & r & "Don's programming was adventurous. He used to get hate mail for programming modern music: George Crumb, Elliot Schwartz. And on his education concerts in those [school] gyms, he was doing some social [commentary], things like [actor] Patrick Duffy reading Chief Sealth's speech to the governor with appropriate music. He had some ideas there that he was not hiding."
On Thomas Hampson: & r & "Tom has always been warm and unpretentious. And that recital he gave here [last November at the Fox Theater]? That was the greatest recital of anybody I've ever heard in my life. Honestly."
On Eckart Preu: & r & "We knew he was a great conductor, but we had no idea he was that wonderful with audiences."
On Dr. Hans Moldenhauer: & r & "After , I became closer to Dr. Moldenhauer and read for him at least once a week, since his sight was impaired. ... I'd read music journals, some things in German -- I could pronounce it well enough -- and mountaineering stories. He was known as the mountaineer poet before he left Germany; he had climbed more than 400 peaks over 4,000 meters and had written a poem on virtually every one of his climbs. Plus, he'd taken pictures with a cumbersome camera with glass plates. Those plates still exist, in the archives ... Yeah, he loved to read about the [climbing] accidents and critique these misguided people who had accidents. And he told me about some of his escapades in the mountains. In fact, he encouraged me to climb, which I did, and when I got to the top of Rainier, he presented me with a poem that he had written and translated. I still have it."
On being concertmaster for 37 years: & r & "I was lucky to get to do it. Every year was different. There's always new experiences, new music, new people, new ways of doing it. You do a piece with one conductor, then do it with another. It's a fascinating existence."