August 8, 2007


A Footnote on Yeagley berating others for his own self-aggrandizing

Do I believe his outrageous claims of prowess about his so-called first's in flute music, grand operas, and exclusive harmonic theories? Absolutely not. Yeagley’s approach is a classic case of tearing others down to try building himself up. Yeagley mischaracterizes George Quincy as a non-classical composer; Quincy’s too “popular” you see, but it turns out Quincy is a classical composer after all. Nakai cannot play written (chromatic) music according to Yeagley, but it turns out that Nakai really can.

The only way, it seems, that Yeagley can toot his own horn is by dressing down the career accomplishments of seasoned composers such as Dr. Ballard, R. Carlos Nakai, George Quincy, Raven Chacon, and myself. It appears that even funerals will not deter Yeagley’s self-idolizing behavior.

Yeagley’s victimhood approach, combined with his extremely “boxed” and outdated views of so-called ‘classical music’ are probably why Yeagley remains a marginal figure in the field of contemporary composition at best. Maybe a little less mudslinging at other composers and a bit more study of composition might better suit Yeagley’s budding career. But he so loves to play the unappreciated martyr, we will probably just be shaking our heads at Yeagley's malicious antics far into the future.


Despite his obvious false claims, Yeagley continues to try gathering Dr. Ballard's accolades for himself by claiming it was he, David Yeagley, that created the first real impetus to teach Indian youth to compose. But of course Yeagley is "too busy" himself to do that, "teaching" is rather beneath him I suppose when he has better things to do like run a political blog. The best he can do is "praise others" for taking HIS idea and running with it — self-aggrandizing at its best.
David Yeagley — "Indians have had access to European art modes and tools for a century. Classical music simply got left out the picture until recently. I have shared my ideas with the few "classical" Indian composers since 1994... Ballard never cared one thing about other Indians, about interesting young Indians in composing. Not until I had started pushing the idea” (7-28-07).
Yeagley's 1994 claim-to-fame is bogus however, as Dr. Ballard's biography shows in triplicate. So, it appears Yeagley is doing two things, claiming accolades that rightfully belong to Dr. Ballard, and putting down Dr. Ballard to make himself seem more important by comparison. In essence, he's riding on Dr. Ballard's shirttails in order to garner his own false popularity by usurping Dr. Ballard's achievements.

In closing, please read and understand the real Dr. Louis Ballard and his devoutness to educating American Indian youth. He spent his entire life dedicated to the future generations. Dr. Ballard deserves to have his legacy honored without the distortions and contortions of someone who would see Dr. Ballard forgotten to selfishly boost his own lackluster career.

Here is an earlier biography of Dr. Ballard from 1974, a biography that Yeagley would not readily see (by google searching) unless he actually held in-hand some of Dr. ballard’s scores. Yeagley could only fantasize of having a career even remotely steeped in teaching as Dr. Ballard’s educational career. Yeagley appears to be a self-aggrandizing opportunist capitalizing on the recent passing of Dr. Ballard, who is no longer around to correct the record. The biography paints an entirely different (and more accurate) picture of the devoted educator, Dr. Louis Ballard.
LOUIS W. BALLARD was born July 8th, 1931 in Miami, Oklahoma, of Cherokee-Quapaw parentage. His multifaceted career includes prominence as a composer, conductor, music educator, lecturer, author and ethnomusicologist.

In Bacone high school, Muskogee, Oklahoma, he was captain of both the football and baseball teams. Not only was he valedictorian of his class but he also received an award as the outstanding graduate in the entire history of school. Study in Oklahoma University, Norman, and Tulsa University, Oklahoma, followed. He holds a bachelor of Arts in Music Theory, Bachelor of Music Education in Vocal and Instrumental Work, and a Master of Music in Composition. In 1973, the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, conferred on him a Doctor of Music Degree, honoris causa. Private study in composition has included work with Darius Milaud, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Carlos Surinach.

As an authority on Indian music, Dr. ballard has written many articles on the place and influence of Indian music in the current musical scene, as well as articles about native instruments. As a lecturer and as a clinician, he has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe, bringing lectures and concerts on all phases of Indian music.

His many commissions have resulted in compositions embracing a wide range of forms and styles—ballets, large choral works, orchestral compositions, chamber works, teaching pieces, etc. An ever-increasing public continues to enjoy his fascinating works, which are performed internationally.

Prior to his present position as Music Curriculum Specialist,m Central Office of Education, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Dr. ballard was chairman of Music and Drama for the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is currently in charge of curriculum planning and development nationwide for 276 schools under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


From Joy Harjo
From the Institute of American Indian Arts
From Indian Country Today
From Joy Harjo again
From The New Mexican