Jack Ballard, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor of music at Malone University, received the 2010 Thanatopolis Prize in the category of Memorial Composition for his composition for orchestra, Lament. Lament was performed on October 9, 2010, by the I-Park Foundation Chamber Orchestra as the concluding piece of the new music component of the Foundation’s Thanatopolis exhibition. The competition welcomed international entries, and the composers, artists, and dancers in the exhibition hailed from Japan, Russia, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States, including Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Jennifer Higdon. Lament is a movement from Ballard’s ballet for full orchestra, The Castle.
Jack Ballard, Ph.D., has composed and produced music in a variety of genres, from classical and film music to jazz and bluegrass. He studied under Gunther Schuller, Wendell Jones, Arthur Post, David Maddux, and Frank Wiley, and received B.A.Ed and M.M. degrees from Central Washington and Eastern Washington Universities. His half-dissertation on hyperextended tertian sonority is from Kent State University. Its initial research received the Bruce Benward Student Music Theory Award in 2007.
He also writes music for dramas, films, videos and national radio shows, including the award-winning Adventures in Odyssey, and is experienced in digital audio and video editing. Also an award recipient for his symphonic and popular writing, he is a member of ASCAP, JEN, Society of Composers, and the Society of Composers and Lyricists. As an educator, his years in higher education produced and influenced such internationally recognized Grammy-nominees and performers as Jars of Clay, Sarah Jahn, Dom Liberati, Joe Vitale, Jr., and Smalltown Poets. Other former students engineer, write and perform in the music, radio and advertising industries. He presently teaches music production and composition at Malone University in Canton, Ohio.
Probably the best known representation of his diversity in styles and instrumentation is his collection of The Psalms (REX Music, 1994), which includes such jazz notables as Alex Acuña, David Friesen, Fletch Wiley, Tom Patitucci, and others, and members of the Oregon Symphony. “Flawless” writes New Man Magazine. “So unique and creative, it breaks new artistic ground” from National Religious Broadcaster. “A great collection:” Moody Monthly. Of his symphonic poem for orchestra, The Traveler’s Psalm, the Durango Herald wrote: “Enchanting, lyrical and polished to the point that it sounded as if it were the work of one of our time-honored masters.”
His pieces incorporate classical and ethnic styles throughout the world, but especially New World and Old World styles that contributed to the development of music in North and South America. He has written for vocal jazz, jazz band and combo (Common Vision, Kiwibird Records, 2003), original music in bluegrass and folk styles (Long Time Coming, Kiwibird Music, 2002, Great Train Songs, Coal, Iron, and Steel, The Cook Brothers, and Mountain Songs, with two-time national flatpicking winner, Gary Cook), and rock (On the Fly, with guitarist Phil Keaggy, Canis Major Records). Choral works include pieces in both jazz and classical traditions (published by Sound Music Publication, Seattle, WA).
Academic presentations are as diverse as his paper on film scoring for the 2006 Cinema Studies Conference in Los Angeles, Raising Emotion in the Heroic Film, to 2008’s Society for Ethnomusicology presentation, Navajo Gospel: A Struggle in Faith, Culture, and Style. He has also been involved in the International Association for Jazz Education, ranging from performing to delivering an address entitled Approach Chords: An Avenue for Resolution in Composition and Improvisation in 2008.