Ballou, Esther (Williamson)

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Ballou, Esther (Williamson)

Ballou, Esther (Williamson), American composer, pianist, and teacher; b. Elmira, N.Y., July 17, 1915; d. Chichester, England, March 12, 1973. She studied composition with Luening at Bennington (Vt.) Coll. (graduated, 1937). After further training at Mills Coll. in Oakland, Calif. (1938), she studied composition with Wagenaar at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (graduated, 1943); also received private instruction from Riegger. She made many tours of the U.S. as a pianist with dance companies. She taught at the American Univ. in Washington, D.C. (1959–73). Her Capriccio for Violin and Piano was the first score by an American woman composer to be played at the White House in Washington, D.C., in 1963. Her works generally followed along Classical lines.


ORCH.: Suite for Chamber Orch. (1939); Intermezzo (1943); Blues (1944); 2 piano concertos (1945, 1964), Prelude and Allegro for Piano and Strings (1951); Concertino for Oboe and Strings (1953); Adagio for Bassoon and Strings (1960); Im memoriam for Oboe and Strings (1960); Guitar Concerto (1964); Konzertstück for Viola and Orch. (1969). CHAMBER: Impertinence for Clarinet and Piano (1936); In Blues Tempo for Clarinet and Piano (1937); Nocturne for String Quartet (1937); War Lyrics for Piano, Trumpet, and Percussion (1940); Christmas Variations for Oboe and Harpsichord (1954); Piano Trio (1955; rev. 1957); Divertimento for String Quartet (1958); Violin Sonata (1959); A Passing Word for Flute, Cello, Piano, and Oboe (1960); Capriccio for Violin and Piano (1963); Dialogues for Oboe and Guitar (1966; rev. 1969); Prism for String Trio (1969); Romanzo for Violin and Piano (1969). Piano: Dance Suite (1937); 2 sonatas for 2 Pianos (1943, 1958); Bequine for Piano, 8-Hands (1950; also for 2 Pianos, 1957, and for Orch., 1960); Sonata (1955). OTHER: Organ music, choral pieces, and songs.


R. Ringenwald, The Music of E.W. B.: An Analytical Study (thesis, American Univ., 1960); J. Heintze, E.W. B.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire