Ballard, prominent family of French music printers and composers:
(1) Robert Ballard , music printer; b. Montreuil-sur-Mer, c. 1527; d. Paris (buried), July 8, 1588. With his cousin, Adrien Le Roy, he founded the printing establishment of Le Roy & Ballard. King Henri II granted them a privilege to print music on Aug. 14, 1551. They were named music printers to the king on Feb. 16, 1553, a distinction the firm retained until the middle of the 18th century. Following Ballard’s death, printing ceased until Le Roy was joined by Ballard’s widow, Lucrèce, a partner in 1591. At his death in 1598, the childless widower Le Roy bequeathed his share of the firm to Lucrèce and the Ballard heirs. Lucrèce was then joined by her son, (2) Pierre Ballard. During the second half of the 16th century, the firm maintained almost total monopoly of music printing in France. The firm printed some 3, 000 works, many in elegant editions.
(2) Pierre Ballard , music printer, son of (1) Robert Ballard; b. Paris, c. 1577; d. there, Oct. 4, 1639. King Henri IV named him music printer to the king on March 25, 1607, and thereafter his mother ceased to have an interest in the firm and his editions were issued under his own name.
(3) Robert Ballard , lutenist, teacher, and composer, son of (1) Robert Ballard; b. probably in Paris, c. 1575; d. c. 1650. He seems to have played no role in the family music printing firm. Instead, he devoted himself to performing, teaching, and composing. In 1612 he entered the service of the regent, Maria de’ Medici, as maître de luth; that same year, he was made tutor to the young King Louis XIII. In 1618 he was made a musicien ordinaire du roi. He wrote music for the court ballets, much of which was transcribed for the lute. His works were ed. by A. Souris and S. Spycket as Robert Ballard: Oeuvres (Paris, 1963-64).
(4) Robert Ballard , music printer, son of (2) Pierre Ballard; b. Paris, c. 1610; d. there, before May 1673. He was a bookseller until inheriting the family music printing establishment upon his father’s death in 1639. King Louis XIII named him sole printer to the king for music on Oct. 24, 1639. Under his direction, the firm publ. orch. scores for the first time, and also initiated a song collection series.
(5) Christophe Ballard , music printer, son of (4) Robert Ballard; b. Paris, April 12, 1641; d. there, before May 28, 1715. He was a bookseller until joining his father in 1666. He was named sole printer to the king for music on May 11, 1673. The firm to continued to hold its own until its hegemony was seriously threatened by the new method of printing from engraved plates as opposed to its old movable type method. His son, Jean-Baptiste-Christophe Ballard (b. Paris, c. 1663; d. there, May 1750), succeeded to the business in 1715, but its fortunes waned. He was succeeded in turn by his son, Christophe-Jean-François Ballard (b. Paris, c. 1701; d. there, Sept. 3, 1765), but the firm soon became only a shadow of its former self, having lost both its eminence and success.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire