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    Campus & Community

    Hitting the high notes with Charles Ball

    By Marsha Miller
    Published: May 4, 2010

    Piano-tuning maestro Charles Ball has been hitting the high notes for 30 years as the head piano technician in the Butler School of Music. From an early age, Ball has been fascinated by the inner workings of pianos and had dreamed of one day working in music, with a fleet of fine instruments that he would prepare for concert performances.

    Ball reflects on having realized his dream: a long career working with the finest instruments and the best pianists, from first-year music students to some of the greatest piano virtuosos in the world.

    With the motto “UT works because staff work,” Staff Appreciation Week is an opportunity for members of the university community to show appreciation for the hard work and commitment of university staff.

    Read a transcript of the interview (PDF).

    View more audio slideshows featuring university staff:
    Searching the stars with Lara Eakins
    Inspiring change with Choquette Hamilton
    In good hands with Santos Rodriguez
    Cutting keys with the Lock Shop

    • Quote 2
      Julian Joseph said on Aug. 9, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.
      great interview... NPR style I've wanted to work in the piano technician department for a while now :-D thanks for sharing
    • Quote 2
      Brenda J.Hohman said on May 19, 2010 at 8:38 p.m.
      Congratulations Charles on your recognition ... you deserve it! Charles has been my piano technician extraordinare for many years ... you are the best!
    • Quote 2
      Kristen Smith Stoner said on May 13, 2010 at 10:22 a.m.
      This is a beautiful interview and photo montage! As an undergraduate music student at UT in the 1990s, I had the opportunity to work with Charles, Ed, Mary, and Tom in the workshop as a work-study student. I learned so much and had a wonderful time working with these dedicated artists! Congratulations, Charles!!
    • Quote 2
      Debra Monticciolo said on May 9, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.
      Your outstanding work is an inspiration to us all -- your skill, your devotion, and your sense of the nuance needed to match the sound to our needs. An expert understands that; a true master can achieve it. Thanks for all you do!
    • Quote 2
      Brian Marks said on May 9, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.
      So nice to see and hear this lovely portrait of your work, Charles! The public may know of the many fine artists that take the stage at UT's performance venues, but not many know of the fine artist behind the scenes working his magic on the pianos. Glad to see you getting some well-deserved attention!
    • Quote 2
      Charles E. Felger, MD said on May 9, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.
      An excellent tribute to a well-deserving member of the Butler School of Music. Charles advised and greatly helped me in moving a 100 year old Steinway from Victoria, Texas to Austin. Charles and Mary Smith are truly masters at their craft!
    • Quote 2
      Stella Sung said on May 8, 2010 at 1:56 p.m.
      Charles Ball is indeed a master technician, and is so special to me, that I invite him to Orlando (FL) every few years to work on my piano. He is the ONLY technician that I will allow to work on my 1921 Hamburg Steinway B because he truly understands the nuances of my piano and the quality of its color and tone. Charles Ball was one of the special people that I came to know while a student at UT, and I will always connect him with my two wonderful years there as a doctoral student. This is a wonderful mini documentary on you, Charles! You are the BEST! Congratulations!
    • Quote 2
      Michael Benson said on May 8, 2010 at 7:04 a.m.
      Thank you so much, Charles. Your years of care and love for the UT pianos is amazing. Also, thanks for being such a great person, too. Take care.
    • Quote 2
      William Chapman Nyaho said on May 6, 2010 at 7:40 p.m.
      I am so glad to see this on facebook! Charles you are just so wonderful and I have great memories of your work and also being your little helper for a brief period while at UT! Thanks so much for everything! I was actually mentioning you and your work this very week while performing in Jamaica! Best wishes! Nyaho
    • Quote 2
      Bliss Angerman said on May 6, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
      Thanks so much for your faithful service over the years, Charles! We can rest assured that the instruments will always be in top condition!
    • Quote 2
      Juniper Lauren said on May 5, 2010 at 6:52 p.m.
      I know Charles through his contributions as Board Chair for Austin Zen Center. I might have guessed that he is equally gifted and generous as head piano technician. Blessings and gratitude to the photographer and producer who have skillfully captured Charles' subtle and precious beauty; and have given us a peak into his professional world.
    • Quote 2
      » Know Staff Profile: Charles Ball UTSC Staff Appreciation Week said on May 5, 2010 at 2:45 p.m.
      [...] is the head piano technician in the Butler School of Music, where he has worked for thirty years. Check out the Know profile and learn more about what Charles contributes to the University! Spread the [...]
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