J. Stanley Ballinger, born in Liberal, Kansas in 1925, began playing violin at the age of nine, inspired by his father, a bluegrass fiddle player. In high school, Ballinger began his formal violin studies with Leoti Newland and went on to study with NBC violinist and conductor David Robertson. Ballinger received his Bachelor’s degree in violin from the University of Wichita, Kansas in 1950. Prior to attending college, Ballinger served briefly as a pilot in the U.S. Naval Air Corps. In 1952 Ballinger earned his master's degree in violin from Oberlin Conservatory.
For the next several years Ballinger held the position of Assistant Professor at Fort Hays Kansas State College, where he served as Orchestra Director and taught conducting and string instruments. Ballinger returned to Oberlin from 1958-1963, serving as Assistant and Acting Dean of the Conservatory. During this period, he also directed the Oberlin Orchestra and Collegiate Symphony and organized a Stravinsky festival. After leaving Oberlin, Ballinger attended the University of Illinois, where he earned his PhD in viola and conducting.
In 1965, Ballinger assumed the position of Chairman of the Music Department at Northern Illinois University that he retained until coming to New England Conservatory in 1977. While at NIU, Ballinger greatly increased the size of the department while becoming more selective in terms of musical ability. Under Ballinger’s leadership, several faculty ensembles were formed or affiliated with the department including the Vermeer Quartet, the Chicago Brass Quintet, the Electric Stereoptican, the Blackearth Percussion Group and the Illinois Chamber Orchestra.
Ballinger served as President of NEC from 1977-1982. After that time, Ballinger became an active member of the Meher Spiritual Center near Myrtle Beach, SC. This is a spiritual retreat named for the Indian spiritual leader, Meher Baba. His extensive spiritual research and writings, including travels to India, were the focus of his later years. At the time of his sudden death on November 1, 2007, he was working to complete the foreword for a book he felt was ready for publication.
The Ballinger collection contains approximately 1.2 lin. ft. (One record carton and one document case). The contents of this collection are entirely paper files with the exception of two sheets of photographic proofs.
This collection includes the materials created by, and belonging to J. Stanley Ballinger, who served as President of New England Conservatory from 1977-1982. The materials in this collection have been stored at NEC since Ballinger’s tenure.
Access to the Ballinger Collection is granted by the Archivist or Director of
Libraries. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are limited restrictions pertaining to this collection.
All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory.
Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: J. Stanley Ballinger Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory, Boston.