John FarrerJohn Farrer


California State University, Bakersfield

Maestro John Farrer arrived in Bakersfield in 1970 when he took a guest conductor position with the Bakersfield Symphony. Just five short years later he became the Music Director and has served the community in that position for 38 years. In that time, Maestro Farrer has conducted more than 400 works for the orchestra's subscription programs and has collaborated with some of the world's finest soloists. Today, he is a world-renowned guest conductor having conducted special programs for royalty, including the Duchess of Cornwall.

Mr. Farrer has been the Music Director of the Roswell Symphony Orchestra for 40 years during its musical seasons, where he received the Governor's Award for Excellence and Achievement, New Mexico's highest arts honor. In 2003 he was nominated and appointed by Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman as one of the Trustees of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As provided in the National Trustees' information statement from the National Symphony Orchestra Development Office, "Trustees are prominent persons from throughout the United States and from several countries around the world. They are accomplished leaders in civic, cultural and philanthropic enterprise as well as in their chosen professions and careers. Trustees serve as valued counselors and patrons of the NSO and as advocates in Washington, as well as in their home states, communities and countries, for the causes of symphonic music, of the performing arts and of music and arts education."

He also is in his tenth season as Music Director with the Santa Maria Philharmonic. He was associated with the San Francisco Symphony as cover conductor for the orchestra's subscription concerts. Mr. Farrer has been a frequent speaker in the San Francisco Symphony's series of Inside Music talks, and has led the Orchestra in Concerts for Kids and in a concert in the Stern Grove that attracted 20,000 listeners. He is the founder and director of the California Conducting Institute and the London Conducting Workshop at the Royal College of Music. He is a member of the Los Angeles Young Musicians Foundation Music Advisory Board.

Mr. Farrer is a frequent guest conductor with orchestras in England. His nine recordings with the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony and English Sinfonia have received high praise from critics around the world. Mr. Farrer recently recorded the four symphonies of Johannes Brahms with the New Queen's Hall Orchestra of London.

In recognition of his distinguished achievements which embody the values of California State University, Bakersfield, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Bakersfield are proud to confer upon John Farrer the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.​