Monday 29th May
by Simon Ballard
Adam Carse - Lively dance and Russian Song and Dance
Mozart - Allegro K.400
Mozart - Sonata in B flat K.498A
Schubert - Impromptu in E Flat
Fauré - Prelude in G Minor
Alkan - Barcarolle
Ballard - Fantasy Opus 83
Steibelt - The Storm Rondo
Simon Ballard (formerly Michael Stride) is a British pianist, composer and teacher and was born in Warwickshire. He has studied the piano since the age of six. When he was eleven, he won a Foundation Scholarship to the Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied with Lilian Niblette and Tom Bromley.
He became a full time student there at the age of sixteen, having already played concertos with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra whilst still at school. He then began studies in the cello and flute as well as continuing to study piano with the Austrian pianist Katharina Wolpe, in London. For three years he was the pianist of the Dussek Ensemble, with four members of the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra. He is well known as a concerto player, having over sixty concertos in his repertoire and as a solo recitalist for the B.B.C.
He has been recognised as one of the most gifted interpreters of the music of Mozart and has played all twenty three concertos. He has also done much to publicise the works of the lesser known and unjustly neglected composers, such as Hummel, Moscheles, Dussek and the Irish composer, John Field – whose fourth piano concerto he has played several times in public. He frequently includes in his recitals the seldom heard piano music of Dvorak.
He was Head of Woodwind in the London Borough of Merton for eighteen years, is an oboist and clarinettist of distinction and taught the cello at the Brighton Music Centre.
A prolific composer, he is a strong believer in tonality and melody; his works, mostly Chamber music include twenty four Serenades (in all the keys), a sextet, two piano quintets, a piano quartet ‘Romanze’, two piano Trios, Sonatas for various instruments with piano and Piano solo music. In the 1980s he produced completions to all of Schubert’s unfinished piano sonatas and has provided cadenzas to some of Mozart’s Piano Concertos. In 1999, his Rondoletto Opus 61 “A Serenade for Summer Wine” was published – it was written for Sarah Thomas, the actress who plays the part of Glenda in the BBC’s comedy series ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.
He is also a Festival Adjudicator of much experience, including Festivals at Hereford, Dudley, Northfield (Birmingham) etc. and is frequently asked to be Official Accompanist at other venues.
He has performed all over Britain and abroad including a performance of Saint Saens’s Piano Concerto No.2 in the Palm Gardens at Frankfurt, Germany, in the open air.
His teaching experience amounts to well over thirty years – much of it in the classroom as a Head of Department.
He lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, performs regularly in solo and chamber works and plays both the viola and the cello in various orchestras. He is a regular member of the ‘Merton Abbey Music’/ ‘Sunday Evening Music among Friends’, in Merton Abbey Mills, London. Recently, he has completed recordings of the entire output of piano music by Dvorak. Also he has recorded all of his own piano works – which include the recently written Furiant Opus 64, Dumka Opus 65, Ballade after “Jane Eyre” Opus 66 and A Warwickshire Suite Opus 67 – his best known and best loved work. More recently he has written some more piano works for his friend, the writer Richard Crellin, including Four Pictures Opus 68, a Hertfordshire Hoe Down Opus 69, Lament Opus 70, The Prophecy Opus 71, La Primavera Opus 72 and ‘The Lonely Railway Line’ Opus 73. Recently, he has been working on two volumes of piano music called ‘Musings of a Compositionist’ based on some of Richard’s poems. Simon appears on a Website dedicated to present day composers who write in more traditional styles - classicalarchives.com/inspirations – and can also be located on Google ‘Images’. Samples of his music may be listened to via the Website. Copies of his works may be obtained from his Publisher, Dr.P.Chapman , email firstname.lastname@example.org and the publisher June Emerson stocks many of his woodwind pieces, including the Rondoletto Op.61 published by ‘Spartan Press’ and the twenty four ‘Petites Serenades’(in all the keys). Many of his works are also available through prestoclassical.co.uk in Leamington Spa.