Robert Ballard (* about 1575 in Paris (?); † after 1650) was a French lutenist and composer.
He was the son of the publisher Robert Ballard Senior (c.1527–1588), the head of the well-known music publishers “Le Roy & Ballard”, founded in 1551 with cousin Adrian Le Roy (a notable virtuoso lutenist and composer of the period).
His brother Pierre was the “imprimeur de musique du roi” at the French court. Robert Ballard’s lute teacher was the companion of his father, the publisher, composer and lutenist Adrian Le Roy.
After 1610 Robert Ballard was a well-known soloist and teacher, among his pupils was the young King Louis XIII. He was repeatedly present at court until the 1640s, at times holding the title of “musicien ordinaire du roi” or “musicien du Roy”. However, there is no record of his life after 1650 – the year in which his wife died.
Ballard was considered one of the leading lutenists in France at his time, his position at court underlines this. His compositions – all for solo lute – can be found in the two books “Diverses pìeces mises sur le luth” published in Paris in 1611 and 1614; in addition, individual works were also published in various collected editions.
He received his musical education from Adrian Le Roy, a cousin and associate of his father Robert I. The first record of him, in 1600, lists him as “valet to the king’s chamber at court”, nephew of Jehan Dugué [brother of his mother Lucretia Dugué], herald of the king’s orders.
He is irregularly mentioned between 1610 and 1645 as an instrument player of the King’s Chamber, and between 1610 and 1617 as an instrument player of the music of Queen Mother Marie de Medici. Around 1612 he was also lute teacher to the young Louis XIII.
His father, Robert Ballard Senior (c.1527–1588) was the head of the well-known music publishers “Le Roy & Ballard”, founded in 1551 with cousin Adrian Le Roy (a notable virtuoso lutenist and composer of the period).
From 1612 he entered the service of the French Regent Maria de Medici and was tutor to the young King Louis XIII, becoming a lutenist and composer (“Musicien ordinaire du roi”) at the royal court in 1618. He published two books of lute works: Premier Livre de tablature de luth (1611) and Diverses Pièces mises sur le luth (1614).