Michael Ballam (born 1951) is the founding General Director of the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre,(since 1993) a professor of music at Utah State University,(since 1987) an accomplished operatic singer, pianist and oboist. He has served on the faculties of Indiana University, the Music Academy of the West, where he also studied in 1979, at University of Utah, Brigham Young University and as guest lecturer at Stanford, Yale, Catholic University and Manhattan School of Music.
Operatic and recital career
Ballam's professional operatic and recital career has spanned over five decades and every continent. Ballam, a native of Logan, Utah, has performed in the major concert halls in America, Europe, Asia and the Soviet Union, with command performances at the Vatican and the White House. His operatic repertoire includes more than 1,000 performances of over 110 major roles. He has shared the stage with the world's greatest singers, including Joan Sutherland, Kiri Te Kanawa , Birgit Nilsson, Beverly Sills, Montserrat Caballé, Roberta Peters, Jerome Hines, Leonie Rysanek, Leontyne Price, Fedora Barbieri, Marilyn Horne, Carlo Bergonzi, Alfredo Kraus, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Pons, Simon Estes, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Plácido Domingo, and Ethel Merman performing regularly on the stages of the Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, Metropolitan, Santa Fe, Houston Grand, Dallas, St. Louis, Washington National and San Diego Operas. Recitalist at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Music Center, Carnegie Hall, Towne Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Royal Albert Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall (Boston), Jones Hall (Houston), Notre Dame (Paris) and Salt Lake Tabernacle. At the age of 24 he became the youngest recipient of a Doctor of Music with Distinction in the history of Indiana University Bloomington. He is well known for his strong support of musical arts in Utah, serving on the Board of Directors of 12 Professional Arts Organizations. Ballam has produced, directed or starred in 350 productions.
Ballam is frequently asked to hold lectures world-wide on the creative arts, more specifically music, and their interaction with the functions of the mind, their use in enhancing education, and as sources of therapy and motivation. His lectures are highly popular.
Ballam is responsible for the multi-million dollar restorations and renovations of historic cultural treasures in Northern Utah: Ellen Eccles Theatre (Formerly the Capitol Theatre, an opera house built in 1923), Utah Theatre (built 1936) and the Dansante Building (a performing arts center built in 1900).
Ballam also lectures on the relationship of music and the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), of which he has been a lifelong member. The church created a position of "musical missionary-at-large" specifically for him. He has produced, directed or starred in 349 professional productions.
In 1996 he was designated one of the 100 Top Achievers in the State of Utah by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, appointed Artist Extraordinaire by the Governor of Utah in 2003, 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 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” in 2010.
"He's more than an entertainer," says Thomas S. Monson, former president of the LDS Church. "He's got a heart of gold. He does it quietly. He doesn't make a show of it. He believes in music and goodness." Ballam gave Monson the hospital-room concert a few years ago when the latter was hospitalized during the Christmas season, and later did the same for Monson's wife, Frances. "It was beautiful," says Monson. "And he left a tape with his music on it that we played for her." 
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