Theatre Organist: Steven Ball

Steven Ball

Over the years GSTOS has had the privilege of counting a number of internationally known organists in its membership. We are now pleased to announce that Steven Ball has moved to Atlantic City, N.J. from Michigan, and has joined our chapter.

Steven Ball occupies a rather unique place in the musical world of the organ. In addition to being a Fulbright Scholar, he is part of a small number of artists proficient in the genre of the theatre organ ever to have achieved a doctoral degree in music, and the first to have ever done so with a degree in organ performance. Widely recognized for his scholarship both with classical improvisation as well as the art of silent film composition and accompaniment, he has traveled and performed extensively in both the United States and abroad including concerts in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal, Ireland, England and Switzerland. Some important firsts include the world premiere of the first concerto for theatre organ and orchestra ("Once Upon a Castle" 2003 by Michael Daugherty) and the first silent film accompanied by a carillon.

Originally from a small farm near Wright Michigan, Dr. Ball began playing the organ at a very young age. At the age of 6, he was both studying piano and attempting to complete a single stop pipe organ which his father and he had begun engineering together in the basement of their family home. He began accompanying church services on a regular basis by the age of 9, and started formal organ studies not long after with Dr. John Hammersma of Calvin College. By the age of 16 he was accepted as an undergraduate in the studio of Dr. Marilyn Mason of the University of Michigan. His undergraduate studies in organ performance were followed by several years of study abroad which included work at l'Institute de Touraine in Tours (France), the University of Utrecht and Royal Dutch Carillon School of Amersfoort (The Netherlands) as well as the Royal Carillon School of Mechelen (Belgium). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship by the United States Government in 2002.

Effective, July 1 2013, Dr. Ball accepted a new appointment as Organist and Director of Outreach for the world's largest pipe organ located at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. He featured the 30% of the Midmer-Losh that is working, during the Miss America Pageant in September of 2013.

He has also been named Artist in Residence at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Previous to these appointments, he was Senior Staff Organist at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor, University Carillonneur at the University of Michigan, a member of the Faculty of the Organ Department, and Director of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. He was also Cathedral Organist at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit, an instrument recently featured as the subject of a premiere recording of the works of Steven Ball's predecessor in Detroit, René Becker.