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Ellen Ballon was born in Montreal on October 6, 1898 of Jewish Lithuanian immigrant parents. She started taking piano lessons at an early age, beginning her studies at the Conservatorium at McGill under Clara Lichtenstein, a former student of Liszt, in March 1904. She gave her first concert appearance at the age of five. In 1906 she moved to New York to study piano with Rafael Joseffy and harmony with Rubin Goldmark. She performed for Sir Wilfred and Lady Laurier in New York (1909) and made her New York debut in 1910.
In 1914 she moved to Switzerland to study with Josef Hofmann, but wartime conditions forced her return to New York in 1916. She performed as a concert pianist throughout these years, and became a pupil of Wilhelm Backhaus in 1925. Ellen Ballon toured Europe in 1927, and upon her return to Canada, established a scholarship in music at McGill University. She toured Canada in 1928, and in 1934 returned to England to live. Her career suffered a fallback in 1938 when she broke her right ankle getting out of a taxicab. Two years later her leg had healed sufficiently that she could resume concert performances, so she recommenced her career and moved to New York City.
In 1942, both of Ellen Ballon's parents died, and she began to participate actively in war efforts. In 1945 she commissioned a concerto from the Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos and performed the world, American and Canadian premiers of this work in 1945, 1946, and 1947, respectively. Ellen Ballon was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Music by McGill University in 1954. She married Colonel Theodore LaFleur Bullock of Quebec in 1958 and died in Montreal in 1969.