Frédéric François Chopin, portrait by Eugène Delacroix. The lyrical compositions of Chopin appealed to the romantic in William and inspired him to study the piano in the late 1940’s with the encouragement of his wife Maryka. He passed the Licentiateship Examination - Pianoforte “Performer” on the 19th April 1950. His own compositions show the influence of Chopin and Bill’s “Waltz in Db”, dedicated to Maryka and written in the mud and grime of the trenches in war torn Holland deserves recognition.
Billy Mayerl 1902 - 1959, born in London’s Tottenham Court Road, London. After studying at the Trinity College of Music he began to earn a living as a professional musician from the age of 16. Played with the Savoy Havana band before gaining recognition as a soloist. His lyrical, complicated, highly syncopated compositions were much admired by Bill whose own composition “Just Fancy” could have been written by Mayerl himself.
Click on the icon to hear an MP3 file of ‘Just Fancy’, Bill’s intricate, syncopated piano solo
Fred Van Eps - Bill had great regard for the banjo playing of the American virtuoso.
R. Tarrant Bailey - One of the great players and characters of the banjo world. The founder and leader of the Bath Banjo Bands.
Emile Grimshaw - a prolific composer and arranger for the banjo. Bill rated Grimshaw’s “Return Of The Regiment” as one of the greatest marches composed for the banjo.
Clifford Essex had met and encouraged Bill on a number of occasions. “One of nature’s gentlemen” said Bill.
Joe Morley “He was born poor, and he died poor, but he was the greatest influence on my banjo playing life” William J. Ball speaking of Joe Morley in June 1983. The son of a traveling street busker, the young Joe danced in the streets to his fathers playing. Later he turned to prize fighting as a living before discovering the banjo. He swiftly became a brilliant self-taught master and is still recognised as one of the finest players the world has ever known. He was also one of most prolific composers for the instrument with over 200 compositions to his name.
J. McNaughten, friend, editor of BMG, historian etc it was ‘Mac’ who persuaded Bill to visit the USA in 1991 where he rediscovered his love of the banjo.