Richard Faria, associate professor of music performance, has earned a spot on www.Mercurynews.com’s list of the top classical CDs for 2009. An esteemed clarinetist, Faria performed on Stephen Hartke’s “The Horse with the Lavendar Eye” album, which was ranked on the Silicon Valley’s Web site that focuses on the latest techno gadgets. At the college, Faria coached chamber music groups in addition to teaching private clarinet lessons. Contributing Writer Rachael Hartford spoke with Faria about his success as a musician at the college and in the music world.
Rachael Hartford: How did it feel to be listed on Mercury.com’s top classical CDs for 2009?
Richard Faria: It’s very nice. Ultimately, reviews are meaningless because they’re subjective. For every good review, there’s a bad review. But it’s great to know that the CD is getting out there, that people are listening to it, and that people like it because it came out really well.
RH: How did you hear about Stephen Hartke and his album “The Horse with the Lavender Eye?”
RF: Stephen Hartke had been a composer-in-residence at both IC and at Cornell in the past. He had received a commission to write a trio for clarinet, violin and piano from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. It is an amazing piece of its time, and we started performing it as soon as we could. We had asked Stephen Hartke early on if we could record it, and at first he said “No” because Lincoln Center still had rights to it. Every year we would go back and ask him again and finally … he gave us permission to record it.
RH: How long did it take you to put this together?
RF: We had worked on the piece and played it on and off over three years before we finally sat down to record it. The recording sessions for the trio were done over the course of a day.
RH: What was your inspiration for the Ithaca Contemporary Chamber Ensemble?
RF: Out in the world you’ll find professional music ensembles that are made up solely of professional musicians and then you’ll find student groups that are all students. But I haven’t found many groups that are a mix of students and professionals. I thought it would be a really neat thing to do here at Ithaca College. It’s a group that is made up of students and faculty from the School of Music, and we play and rehearse side by side.
RH: How do you hope to inspire students?
RF: I think we try and inspire students by leading by example. We strive to be actively performing and actively teaching, which is what we hope our students will be doing themselves someday.
RH: What is Ensemble X?
RF: Ensemble X is a group made up of faculty from Ithaca College and Cornell University. We get together every now and again and play new works we find interesting.
RH: How did you put together your first CD “Roberto Sierra: Clarinet Works?”
RF: Robert Sierra teaches composition at Cornell University. He had written a clarinet sonata that he dedicated to myself and Xak Bjerken, who teaches piano at Cornell. After he had gotten the idea for me to record it, he figured, “As long as you’re recording the sonata, maybe you should record all of my clarinet music?” He’s a well-known composer for the instrument.
RH: Do you plan on recording any more CDs in the future?
RF: Yes, right now I’m working on a recording of pieces for solo clarinet. These CDs have been recorded at Ithaca College with the help of our brilliant faculty audio engineer Alex Perialas, in the Hockett Recital Hall, which has such a warm acoustic. So these two CDs have been very homegrown.
RH: What are some of your aspirations for the future and what do your future plans include?
RF: Hopefully, to continue to teach and play new works. I’m always fascinated to see what composers come up with. It’s amazing to be a part of the birth of a new work of art, so I hope to keep doing that and teaching. I also hope to travel more and to meet musicians from around the world.