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The Hermitage Artist Retreat invites the public to a very special community program. On

Friday, August 11, beginning at 7:30 pm, Violist Ralph Farris, Hermitage fellow and member of the award-winning ETHEL String Quartet, will play music on the beach as his residency community give-back. Among his repertoire will be music written by Philip Glass, Richard Einhorn and J.S. Bach.  He will also share a sampling of his own work, written at the Hermitage, including a children’s ballet about Snow White, a new work inspired by Native American themes and ETHEL’s Circus – Wandering City, which has been workshopped at The Hermitage and is scheduled to premiere this January at the Historic Asolo Theater at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Ralph Farris’ performance will begin at 7:30 pm on the beach in front of the Hermitage’s historic campus, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, FL, and end at approximately 8:15, with Mother Nature’s spectacular sunset. Visitors should bring their beach chairs or blankets and any refreshments that they would like to enjoy. The program is FREE but reservations are required, in case circumstances require it to be moved indoors to the Palm House which has limited seating. To reserve your spot, email [email protected] or call 941-475-2098, ext. 8.

“This will be an amazing evening to remember,” remarked Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Ralph is such a talented artist and we are just thrilled that he has offered to provide such an incredible program. All I can add is come early to claim your place in the sand and be ready to kick off your weekend in a unique and wonderful way.”

On his website, Ralph describes himself as someone who plays all sorts of fiddles, plus he’s a composer, arranger, conductor, and a producer.  His work has brought him from string arrangements on the Grammy-nominated Five For Fighting hit, “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” to work as a music supervisor on Martin Scorsese’s The Key to Reserva, to a permanent chair as original company member (and assistant conductor) on Broadway’s Tony-winning The Lion King. As a member of ETHEL, Farris has spent the last three decades on modern music’s frontlines, working with everybody from Paul McCartney and Leonard Bernstein to Chicago’s Kaotic Drumline and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

Born into a family of musicians, Farris was a boy soprano and a wunderkind string player, joining the New England Conservatory of Music’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 12, attending the Walnut Hill School for the Arts at 13, followed by a three-year Tanglewood Fellowship, and extensive study at Julliard. From the classical world, Farris ventured into rock and roll, playing with renowned pop classicist Michael Kamen, and being on the road leading a band for The Who’s Roger Daltrey. Ralph’s instincts and versatile skills led him to coordinating and arranging music for performances at St. Paul’s Chapel, near the World Trade Center site, and contracting and conducting an orchestra for the legendary Martin Scorsese, coaching lead actor Simon Baker in viola performance. His resume stretches from country superstar Trisha Yearwood to avant-dance forefather Merce Cunningham, glam-shocker Alice Cooper, and jam legend Trey Anastasio of Phish.

To describe Ralph Farris as a superstar, could be an understatement,” continued Rodgers. “We know him as Ralph, someone as nice as he is talented and we cannot wait to share him with the community. Join us on August 11. You will be so glad that you did!”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to interact with the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by Philanthropist Gerri Aaron, the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes). In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098, ext. 5, or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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