Trained in the United States and France, Louise Billaud studied under the guidance of her future husband, French-born American pianist and Steinway Artist Jean-Paul Billaud, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska. Through him she felt the influence of his former teachers: French Masters Marguerite Long, Jacques Février who studied under Maurice Ravel, Alfred Cortot, and Polish pianist Auguste de Radwan who had worked in Vienna with the famed Theodor Leschetizky.
Along with academic degrees awarded with highest honors, including the Award for Exemplary Performance from Radford University, she was laureate of several piano competitions. She took first prize in the Maxim Schapiro Memorial Piano Competition, second in the International Piano Recording Competition, first prize in the Bartók-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition, and was semi-finalist in the International Web Concert Hall and American Prize competitions.
She has performed in the United States and in Europe, including as featured artist in several music festivals in France. While primarily a solo and lecture recitalist, she has performed as concerto soloist with orchestra and in chamber music performances. Having a special interest in diabetes research, Louise Billaud has taken recital programs on tour for the benefit of the American Diabetes Association.
Professor of Music at New River Community College, she teaches courses reflecting music in society from antiquity to the present, from western art music to jazz, world music and fundamentals. Integrating her knowledge and world experience into online and lecture formats, she transports her students through music to places beyond the boundaries of southwestern Virginia.
Her recordings include compact discs: "Louise Billaud" - a recital of works by Bach, Beethoven, Barber, Holliday, Rachmaninoff and Liapunov; “From Bartók to the Popol Vuh” - featuring piano music by 20th century composers Bartók, Kabalevsky, Petrassi and Holliday; “Passion” - consisting of works by Bach, Franck, Wagner-Liszt and Liszt. In addition, her successful lecture-recital entitled "Mazeppa – An Inspirational Living Legend" was released and distributed in DVD format.
Invited to play in Arizona in 2005, Louise Billaud gave a “pre-première” performance of the four-movement "Sonata for Piano" by American composer Kent Holliday written for and dedicated to her, followed by “the” formal première in Virginia at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Squires Recital Salon. In 2009, she presented a lecture-recital focused on another Holliday work, "Incantations from the Popol Vuh," as part of the College Music Society (CMS) International Conference in Zagreb, Croatia. Another warmly received lecture-recital followed, "Transcending Imposed Creative Boundaries through the Musical Portrayal of the Human Spirit: A Soviet Composer’s Leap to the Soul," for the 2019 CMS International Conference in Bruges, Belgium.
These three previously mentioned performances and lectures consolidated Dr. Billaud’s reputation as a pianist at a distinct high level but perhaps even more noteworthy, as a distinguished lecturer and scholar.
She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in music education from Boston University. Her dissertation, “The Case of the Highlands Community Band: Structuration, Self-Determination, and the Promotion of Participation Beyond the Classroom,” was recognized as the Outstanding Dissertation by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Adult & Community Music Education Special Research Interest Group. Dr. Billaud received that award and communicated her research findings at the NAfME National Conference in St. Louis in April of 2014. Back in Virginia, she presented additional research at the Music and Lifelong Learning Conference at James Madison University and in Tampa, Florida at the Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium/ Music and Lifelong Learning Conference. Boston University conferred upon Louise Billaud a Departmental Honors Award for “garnered distinction” in her field of music and for making “exemplary contributions to the department, School of Music and the University.”
On the other side of the border, the well-known Canadian Winds, Journal of the Canadian Band Association , featured her article, “#BeTheChange: Breaking Barriers for Sustainability in Community Bands” in its Fall/Automne 2021 publication.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) honored Dr. Billaud with the Commonwealth’s highest distinction for “excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration, and public service.” Following a recognition by the assembled State Legislature, the Outstanding Faculty Award was bestowed February 20, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia and the State Board of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) recognized and honored her achievement at their May meeting. Continuing to serve the VCCS, Louise Billaud was keynote speaker for the 2014 VCCS New Faculty Seminar in Williamsburg and for the 2015 Summer Teacher Symposium sponsored by Virginia Highlands Community College. She spearheaded the revision and structuring of VCCS music courses as well as created new music courses for the VCCS and SCHEV Transfer Virginia initiative.
As a member of the international honorary organization for women educators Alpha Delta Kappa, she has held the position of secretary of her local chapter Alpha Phi, served as the Kappan chair for Virginia, and received support from the state organization for several professional endeavors.
Louise Billaud is a National Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and holds the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, Marquis Who’s Who Top Educator and Top Artist awards.