American Suzuki Journal volume 36.3

Image by Rodney Farrar

Rodney Farrar

Cellist Rodney Farrar, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He later studied at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University with noted cellists Ronald Leonard and Janos Starker. It was at Oberlin, however, that Rodney was impelled toward a music career by the passionate teaching of a young Peter Howard, long time Twin Cities cellist, to whom he is deeply grateful.

After a year with the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic Orchestra Rodney enjoyed the first nine years of a teaching career as cello instructor at the University of Kentucky where he performed frequently in recital and as cellist with that school’s resident chamber ensembles. He was also able to solo on several occasions with the university orchestra and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra of which he was principal cellist. Rodney later taught at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York, summer sessions at the University of Illinois and the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina.

Rodney has long had a special love for teaching children and has been privileged to be involved in the development of Suzuki cello teaching from its beginning in this country. With a teaching style which attempts to minimize judgment and bring the pure joy of musical expression, he has brought excitement to young cellists at hundreds of workshops and institutes throughout the U.S. and Canada. In March of 2008 he was honored to be a guest of the Talent Education Research Institute in Tokyo where he held master classes and group lessons and directed the cello portion of their 52nd annual Grand Concert.

Rodney has published a number of mixed level cello choir arrangements which have become popular with teachers around the country. Many are available on the CD Fat Notes Cellobration and can be heard at

Rodney now lives in Littleton, Colorado with his wife, two children and two grandchildren. He enjoys working with a class of wonderful private students and still pursues an active schedule of teaching workshops.

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