Desiree Balfour is currently pursuing her D.M.A. in Choral Conducting at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. A native of southern California, she received the Most Outstanding Student Award in Music Education while completing her music education degree from the CSU-Northridge. While completing her Master’s degree in Music from the internationally recognized Choral Conducting program housed each summer at CSU-Los Angeles, she received a special recognition in graduate studies.
After serving for five years as director of choral and guitar activities at Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles, Desiree became one of three music teachers to start the music program at Ramon C. Cortines High School of Visual and Performing Arts. Desiree’s choral, guitar and vocal jazz ensembles, have all been recognized throughout California as performing at Superior levels at Heritage, District, Verdugo Hills a cappella Scholarship, and Forum Music Festivals. In 2013, the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) presented Desiree with America’s Excellence in Guitar Education award. As well, in 2014, Desiree was honored to be named a quarterfinalist, selected from more than 7,000 nominations, for the second annual Music Educator Award presented by the Grammy Foundation.
As a teacher and conductor, Desiree had the privilege of being a two-time honor choir director including the Southern California Vocal Association’s Jr. High Honor Choir in 2014 and Los Angeles Unified School District’s Eighth Annual Middle School Honor Music Festival in 2011. She has served as both a vocal and guitar adjudicator in LA Unified festivals, and for five years she conducted members of the LAMC Chamber Singers while collaborating with Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Voices Within oratorio project. As a long-term ambassador for the non-profit group Little Kids Rock, as well as during her term as president of the Los Angeles Secondary Music Teacher’s Association, Desiree worked on developing curriculum, organizing events and opportunities for both teachers and students. She has also continued to work with guitar students as a director for the first annual GFA 2017 week-long guitar summit.
Prior to starting her doctorate program, Desiree served as the first assistant conductor of VOX Femina, Los Angeles under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine where she was instrumental in launching VOX’s Youth Outreach program, and which she continues to be a proud member of today.