Denise looks at the camera with a slight smile gracing her face. She is very colour coordinated, wearing a dark blue shirt, blue scarf, and has blue glasses on.

Denise Ball

Mentor, Music Alive

When Denise Ball recently retired as an executive producer at CBC Music, one celebrated musician called her a “warrior” for classical music. She couldn’t have asked for a better label.

Denise began her professional life as a fairly decent violinist, then turned to journalism before joining CBC in 1985 as the junior classical music producer in Regina. She worked all over the country, settling in Vancouver in 2000 for the dream job of all time – running the CBC Radio Orchestra. Imagine having an orchestra at your disposal with one objective – program and record brilliant live concerts and studio sessions. Produce CDs with Janina Fialkowska and Jon Kimura Parker. Commission great Canadian composers.

Along the way, Denise picked up awards: In 2008 the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Music. A Grammy (a Grammy!) for her recording with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and violinist James Ehnes. A couple of Junos and a Western Canadian Music Award. And in 2018, she was named a Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music, joining the likes of Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Oscar Peterson, and David Foster.

Her focus the last decade has been to kick the stuffing out of CBC’s classical music radio with hosts Ben Heppner and Paolo Pietropaolo. And those shows won awards, including a Prix Italia for best radio series on music.

Denise made CBC Music a place of joy and discovery for listeners and a creative hothouse for musicians.

And today, she’s using her warrior’s arsenal to benefit the “private sector”, producing records and livestreams and helping young artists discover their musical voice. The campaign continues!

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