Eva Ballaz

Eva Ballaz

Instrument group
II violin

Eva Ballaz (b. 1992) was born into a family of musicians and grew up in Marignane, near the port city of Marseille in the south of France. Her father played trombone with the Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra, her mother was a pianist, and her older brother also became a jazz trombonist by profession. Eva’s early and repeated exposure to orchestral concerts was so strong that she took up music herself at the age of 4. The violin was her chosen instrument, possibly because the violinists were always the easiest to see and hear on stage.

“I don’t remember myself, but I’ve also been told that I asked for my own violin after seeing one of my older brother's friends with one,” says Eva.

From an early age, she wanted to play specifically in an orchestra, as part of a community that would be close-knit both on stage and behind the scenes. After studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Marseille under Yves Desmons, Eva moved to Paris to study at the Pôle Supérieur Paris Boulogne-Billancourt Conservatoire in Frédéric Laroque’s class. She found her way to Finland and the Sibelius Academy after studying for a year at the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn. In both educational institutions, she was taught by Mari Tampere, who had inspired her to leave France in the first place.

“Moving abroad was one of the best decisions of my life. In Tallinn and especially in Helsinki, I feel that I got a new start and fresh perspectives on life, music and playing the violin. My self-esteem also improved.”

Eva joined the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016 as part of the apprenticeship programme, where she was mentored by Anna-Leena Haikola and Ilkka Lehtonen. She earned a permanent position two years later. “Especially as a foreigner, it’s easy to notice how smoothly things work here. The atmosphere is nice, my colleagues are friendly, and working is stress-free. I don’t think I could find anything like this anywhere else.”