Michael Ballam:Mormon Singer
Michael Ballam is opera singer, educator, and founder and general director of the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church created a position just for him: an at-large music missionary.
Ballam was born in 1952 and grew up in Logan, Utah. His first stage was the top of a table. He sang for a church group at the age of 2 and left them weeping. He started taking piano lessons at age 6 and voice lessons at age 11. As a tenor, he has received critical acclaim with major U.S. opera companies with more than 700 performances in 100 major roles. He also has had a critically acclaimed recital, musical, and oratorio career throughout the world. He has sung in command performances at the White House and the Vatican. In addition to being a singer, he is a pianist and oboist.
Ballam earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Utah State University, his master’s in vocal performance from Indiana University. He earned his Doctor of Music with Distinction in music history and literature/vocal pedagogy from Indiana University, becoming the youngest recipient of this degree in the history of the university.
He taught or lectured at Utah State University, Indiana University, Stanford University, University of Utah, Yale University, Brigham Young University, BYU-Idaho, Catholic University, and Manhattan School of Music. He was professor of music at Utah State University from 1989 to 2009. He was the Artist in Residence at the Music Academy of the West and faculty adviser at the Universal Academy for Music. He also taught voice for eighteen years, piano for six, and was an opera coach for thirteen years.
He is the author of over 40 publications and recordings in international distribution. He starred in three motion pictures, including "The Chosen Vessel" (as the Apostle Paul) and "Clubhouse Detectives" (as Michael Chambers). He has produced several recordings and videos. He has a weekly radio program on Utah Public Radio and 35 syndicated broadcasts with National Public Radio. He serves on the board of directors for many professional arts organizations. He has served as a judge at several state, national, and international vocal competitions.
In 1996, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher designated him as one of the 100 Top Achievers in the State of Utah. In 2003, he was also appointed Artist Extraordinaire by then-Utah Governor Olene Walker. He was given Honorary Life Membership to the Utah Congress of Parents and Teachers, received the Excellence in Community Teaching Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2007, and in 2010 was awarded the Gardner Award by the Utah Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, for “Significant Contributions in the Humanities to the State of Utah.”
Ballam and his wife, Laurie, accompanied their son on an LDS mission to Hawaii for one year. They are the parents of six children.