Trumpeter/Improviser/Composer/Educator, Dave Ballou has released ten CD’s as a leader and co-leader. He has performed or recorded with ensembles led by Michael Formanek, Denman Maroney, Maria Schnieder, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Steely Dan, Rabih Abou-Kahlil, Don Preston and an extensive list of jazz personalities. Dave has performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 with the Bella Musica Orchestra of NY, Larry Austin’s Improvisations with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Gunther Schuller’s Journey into Jazz with the Spokane Symphony and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He appeared as a featured soloist for the premiere of Schuller’s Encounters, a composition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jordan Hall.
The Meridian Arts Ensemble, The TILT Brass ensemble and the Monarch Trio have all performed his compositions. His work for solo trumpet, “Samskara” has been recorded by Jon Nelson for release in 2010. In 2009, Dave received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2010, Universtiy of Michigan French Horn professor, Adam Unsworth, performed an adaptation of “Samskara” for horn.
Dave is a Professor of Music at Towson University and coordinator of the Jazz/Commercial music division. He teaches classes in Jazz history, Jazz theory and improvisation, Jazz arranging, studio jazz trumpet and improvisation for all instrumentalists, jazz composition and coaches small jazz ensembles including the improvisation ensemble. He has taught at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, the Maryland Summer Jazz Camp, the Maine Jazz Camp and The Banff Institute.
He earned a BM (magna cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in 1986 and a MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.
Born in Peace Dale, Rhode Island Dave was drawn to the trumpet at age 11 and quickly was excited by the sounds of jazz trumpeters Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra as well as classical trumpeterers John Willbraham and Bud Herseth. His early trumpet studies were with RI philharmonic trumpeter Julio Tancredi. Dave began working gigs at the age of 16 playing society gigs in the mansions of Newport and Italian Festival parades in Providence, RI.
After brief study at the University of Rhode Island, Dave attended the Berklee College of Music. There he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Greg Hopkins, Jimmy Mosher and Greg Fritze. Other teachers have been George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook, Laurie Frink, Charles Schluter, Jeff Stout and Paul Caputo.
Tours with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey (led by Buddy Morrow) and Woody Herman (led by Frank Tiberi) followed studies at Berklee. Dave then attended the University of New Hampshire and received a Master’s of Art’s degree in 1992. At UNH he came under the direct influence of the jazz great Clark Terry.
Dave worked many types of gigs in the Boston area during and after his studies at UNH. He was also a member of the bands Orange Then Blue and the Either/Orchestra.
In 1994 Dave moved to New York City. Seeking a community in which he could grow as an artist and be surrounded by like-minded musicians, Dave settled into Brooklyn and took part in the vibrant scene there. In NY Dave played Broadway shows , recording sessions and many jazz concerts with some of his heroes: Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Tim Berne, Billy Hart, Dewey Redman, Michael Formanek and Dave Liebman.
Dave joined the faculty of Towson Universtiy in the fall of 2004. He became to coordinator of the Jazz and Commercial Music division in 2006 and has worked to reconnect the Jazz program with the community of musicians influenced by former TU music professor Hank Levy. Earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the 2009-2010 academic year Dave has become recognized as an innovative pedagouge in the teaching of improvisation and composition. His students have become leaders in the improvised music scene in Baltimore.
He continues to perform with innovative improvisors and composers. Recently appearing with on recordings by Denman Maroney, Mario Pavone and Grammy nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Dave continues to develop as an instrumentalist, composer and teacher.