Ballon, Ellen (1898-1954)

Canadian pianist.  A child prodigy who played for President Taft at the White House, Ballon had a long career as a concert pianist and recording artist.  In the 40's she became a close friend of Villa-Lobos.  She commissioned the first piano concerto, playing the piece at its Rio de Janeiro premiere at the Teatro Municipal on October 11, 1946. 

Ballon recorded the concerto with Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse romande (London LL 77, 1949) and made a number of other Villa-Lobos piano recordings on the London label on 78's and later on LP in the 40's and 50's.  Ballon's papers (which include the manuscript of the concerto) are in the archives of the Killam Memorial Library at Dalhouse University in Nova Scotia. 

The Ansermet recording has finally been released on CD, on the Australian Eloquence label.

In 1949 Ballon recorded four Villa-Lobos tunes on a 78rpm record for Decca.  This music is now available in FLAC format at the CHARM website.