Joshua Ballance is a conductor currently studying at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, in the studio of Professor Alexis Hauser, kindly supported by a Graduate Excellence Fellowship. He is Artistic Director of the High Barnet Chamber Music Festival.
Joshua directs Mad Song, an ensemble dedicated to 20th & 21st century music, and is Assistant Conductor of the New London Orchestra. A recent performance of Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen was highly praised: "The combination of naïveté and alienation was spot on, allied to fine command of line and tempo" (Seen and Heard International). A rendition of Eight Songs for a Mad King at the Aberystwyth Festival was commended for its "brutality and raw energy" (David Campbell), and his programming has been described as "seriously thoughtful" (Michael White). Joshua has also worked with ensembles around the UK, including as guest conductor for the City University Pierrot Players, Hereford Symphony Orchestra, Leicester Symphony Orchestra, and with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Orion Orchestra, and Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra. He has collaborated with soloists including Benedict Nelson, Bartholomew LaFollette, and Rebekah Jones, and premiered works by composers including Rob Hao, Carol J. Jones, Ian Pace, and Anna Semple. He has also assisted conductors including Sir Stephen Cleobury, Ben Parry, Ronald Corp, and Toby Purser, and regularly teaches students of all ages on the renowned Pro Corda courses. Joshua's interest in conducting began with the student conducting programme of the London Schools' Symphony Orchestra, under Peter Ash, before going on to study with Roland Melia. He has also participated in masterclasses, including with David Robertson, Andrew Gourlay, Michael Seal and Nicholas Cleobury. Whilst at King's, he won the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra conducting competition, and was appointed their Senior Conductor.
Joshua has a strong academic background. Before moving to Montréal he achieved a DPhil at Christ Church, Oxford, generously supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and supervised by Professor Jonathan Cross. His thesis applied computational methods to the analysis of harmony in the music of Anton Webern. He has presented his work at conferences around the world, and was awarded a prestigious Mitacs Globalink Doctoral Partnership to support a 3-month exchange at the University of British Columbia. Prior to this he was at King's College, Cambridge, where he read for his undergraduate degree, achieving a double first, and an MPhil, which was awarded with Distinction. Whilst pursuing these degrees, he was awarded an academic scholarship, and received various prizes and grants for his academic work.
Joshua has a particular passion for contemporary music and has studied composition with Dr Sinan Savaskan, Dr Christian Mason, and Professor Julian Anderson. He has also received tuition from Raymond Yiu and Marc Andre, amongst others. He has been commissioned by ensembles including the Octandre Ensemble, No Dice Collective, King's Voices, and the New London Children's Choir, and festivals including the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, the Ludlow English Song Weekend, and Oxford Contemporary Opera. He spent a year as a composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and has previously attended the Darmstadt International Course for New Music. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and performed in many prestigious venues around the UK including Westminster Abbey, the Tate Britain Gallery, and all the major Cambridge chapels, as well as abroad in Iceland and Italy.