Rick Farbach - Home page

Rick Farbach
1922 - 2005

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of this wonderful man on 17 August 2005. Rick was loved, respected and admired by all who knew him. He fought a courageous battle with cancer for over four years, accepting any treatment that would hold it at bay, never doubting he would beat it, always optimistic and never complaining. His funeral was a celebration of his life with tributes from his family and fellow musicians, sometimes moving, sometimes funny but always from the heart. You can read some of these tributes and the eulogy by clicking on the Tributes link below.

Home | Tributes | Book Extracts | Rick Farbach CDs | Photo Album | Rick's 80th Birthday | Contact Dawn

A brief look a the life of Rick Farbach L.C.M.D.

He studied at the Handel Conservatorium in Munich and migrated to Australia in 1949. He played in Sydney, mainly in nightclubs, and also did radio broadcasts with Fred Hartley, Isadore Goodman, Bela Kanitz, Charles Field, Gus Merzi, Madam van Aalst and her Romany Players and others. During this time, he made two 78s (Philips), an LP (Diaphone) and an EP (Festival).

Rick moved to Surfers Paradise in 1955 and played in nightclubs, hotels, etc mainly as band leader. Jazz gigs at 'ChaCha' (Surfers), 'Primitif' (Brisbane) followed. 1959 saw the start of television in Queensland. In those days there were many live shows and he played on most of them, travelling to Brisbane on a regular basis.

He also did a lot of teaching at this stage and had many pupils. (See the “Book Extracts” for some funny stories.)

Rick moved to Brisbane in 1963 to cut down travelling time for television commitments, mostly on Channel 7. He became MD at Channel 0 in 1969 and later at Channels 7 and 9, playing guitar, bass and sometimes piano. He also wrote all the necessary arrangements for the bands - up to 10 piece. Amazingly, he was MD on all three commercial channels in Brisbane at the same time in the mid-seventies.

Some of the many stars he toured with over the years included Stan Kenton and Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Edwards, Young Talent Team, Reg Varney, Winnifred Attwell and others. He also played with or for Stanley Black, Shirley Bassey, Sammy Davis jun., Laurindo Almeida, Pat Boone, Dick Emery, Dicky Valentine, Gina Lollobrigida, Max Bygraves and many other international stars. The star-studded Lord Mayor's Command Performances at Brisbane's Festival Hall were other memorable occasions.

On TV shows he backed countless television stars, and performed on ABC Radio many times with his own groups, as well as with others (Robert Boughen Ensemble, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and more).

From 1964 Rick was band leader at Cloudland Ballroom for three and a half years. He wrote and made many commercials, wrote scores for two movies and played them, and did numerous arrangements for theatre orchestras and conducted them. He still managed to fit in his private pupils and taught at eight Brisbane private schools over the years.

Rick and wife Dawn retired to River House in Tewantin in 1978. For some years he still played occasionally and he lectured in jazz guitar at the McGregor Summer School in Toowoomba in 1981.

He was unable to play bass or guitar because of rheumatoid arthritis which struck him in 1984 and crippled his hands. Undaunted he took up the chromatic harmonica in 1992. With a lot of practice and perseverance he then played a few gigs and also at jazz festivals with a new trio. He was also a Long Service Honorary Member of the Musicians' Union, a Full Writer Member of A.P.R.A. (since 1971), and was a Member of M.A.G.A.

For the full fascinating story of Rick's life and adventures see Book Extracts or contact Dawn to buy a copy.

A Welcome Magazine special edition celebrates Rick's life and reprints some interesting articles about him, including a pungent letter from Rick, bewailing the current state of the pop music industry. Click here for the Bay Journal download page.

Back to the top