Michael Ball was born in Manchester in 1946. As a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholar at the Royal College of Music, he studied with Herbert Howells, Humphrey Searle and John Lambert. In 1970 he was one of four students selected to take part in master classes with Nadia Boulanger on her visit to the RCM and in the same year was awarded all the major composition prizes of the College, including the Octavia Travelling Scholarship, which he used to study with Franco Donatoni in Italy during the summers of 1972 and 1973. Whilst he was there, he participated in master classes with Luciano Berio and György Ligeti.
Michael is active within all main areas of composition and his music is regularly played and broadcast, particularly in the United Kingdom and increasingly, world-wide. He has received many commissions, including five from the BBC over the last ten years, and has written several large-scale works for orchestra. Both Resurrection Symphonies (1982) and Danses vitales: Danses macabres (1987) were first performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Edward Downes. Following Omaggio, commissioned by Timothy Reynish for the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra in 1986, his writing for wind and brass number Chaucer's Tunes (premièred at the 1993 BASBWE Conference by Stockport School Wind Band), Frontier! (1984), selected as test-piece for the 1987 European Brass Band Championships and again for the regional finals of the Championship Section of the National Brass Band Championships in 1992 and Midsummer Music, commissioned by Paul Hindmarsh for Besses o'th'Barn Band in 1991. Whitsun Wakes, was commissioned by the BBC and first performed by the Black Dyke Band, conductor James Watson at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on 26 May 1997, as part of the BBC 'Music Live!' Festival. It was subsequently selected as test-piece for the 1997 British Open Brass Band Championship.
Important choral works by this composer include Sainte Marye Virgine (1979), A Hymne to God my God (1984) for sixteen solo voices, commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Northern Singers' 30th anniversary, and Nocturns (1990) for mixed choir, two pianos and percussion. A number of smaller choral pieces for both the church and the concert hall are also to be found in his choral catalogue
Michael has also written several pieces for younger musicians, including his opera The Belly Bag, to a libretto by Alan Garner.
Michael Ball lives in Ireland with his wife Miriam and young son, Alexander.
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