John Ferrara is a pianist/composer/arranger who has toured with and arranged for the Buddy Rich Big Band, and performed with Philly Joe Jones, Chico Hamilton, Joe Williams, Nelson Riddle, Vaughn Monroe, George Mraz, Paquito D’Rivera, Al Grey, Jack Wilkins, Al Cohn, Glenna Gibson, Hal Crook, Clark Terry, Jerry Dodgion, Jay Leonhart, Lou Soloff, George Young, and others. He has recorded with the Carmen Leggio quartet and is featured on his own CD “Intervals of Light” on BlueSun Records. He is a former instructor at the Berklee College of Music, and has taught at music seminars in Denmark and San Diego. He currently teaches and plays in the NYC area.
John holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from Berklee and has recorded with the Carmen Leggio quartet and with his own trio. He played piano in the movie, "The Pallbearer" (Gwyneth Paltrow) and has on screen credits - funny as the title sounds, its a good movie; actually a comedy. (1996- Miramax Films).
He was born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut and also spent time in Waterford and New London as a boy. He joined the musician’s union at a young age and played his first professional gig when he was 15. He continues to play in the NY city area as a freelance pianist. He lives with his wife Glenna, a jazz vocalist, and two cats on a fifteen acre farm, music retreat and 24 track recording studio in Stanfordville, NY.
He is also a piano technician and has extensive tuning and rebuilding experience from grands to player pianos. In addition he is a professional photographer (in semi-retirement). In this area he has melded traditional photographic techniques with the digital domain. He creates images using a medium format camera (Mamiya RB67), develops the images (he maintains his own darkroom) and with the large negative scans the images into Photoshop for digital manipulation. These are two of the crafts he learned to even out the rocky road called the music business.
A part of his life changed on Sept 11, 2001 when he happened to be on the 17th floor of the building across from the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the two planes crashed into both the North and South towers. The sights and sounds of that day are permanently etched in his memory. As a dedication to the victims and survivors, he has written and recorded “140 West Street” on his current CD. That is the address of the building he was in. He escaped from the building and got on the Lexington Avenue Subway near City Hall just before the towers collapsed. When he reached Grand Central it was all over. When the North Tower collapsed, the debris fell upon the 140 West Street building and damaged it heavily, but it managed to survive, as well as all of the folks in the building that day.
If you are ever in Manhattan, and travel downtown, you will see the building north of the hole in the ground – it is an old building, 33 stories high, built in 1926, and currently houses the Verizon corporate offices in NYC.