Cellist Stephen Ballou has been working with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1987. In addition to the Met, Steve performs extensively as an active free-lance musician. For twenty-one summers, he performed solo recitals and taught master classes for American String Teachers Association and NJ String Education conferences. His concerts, along with widely varied repertoire, have included recitals encompassing the complete cello/piano works of Beethoven, the 12 Caprices of Alfredo Piatti and a program traversing the Six Suites of Bach. He performed the latter to commemorate the tri-centennial of Bach’s birth and again as a benefit concert for Japan Society’s Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Fund, just before the 2011 MET Japan Tour. Before settling in New York, Steve lived in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied with Pierre Fournier on a grant award from the Beebe Fund for Musicians and subsequently held a position with Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. A graduate of Hampshire College, he studied earlier at the Curtis Institute and New England Conservatory. Previous teachers included David Soyer and Benjamin Zander. Steve’s love for and professional involvement with opera began one year before he first took up the cello: from the age of 7, for six years he sang in children’s roles and choruses for Sarah Caldwell’s Boston Opera Company, including one of the three boys in The Magic Flute, with Beverly Sills as Queen of the Night.