Featuring the flute students of Washington University.
Mark Sparks is an American solo flutist, orchestral artist, teacher, and writer. He is the former Principal Flutist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure (2000-2021) he served under Music Directors Hans Vonk, David Robertson, and Stéphane Denève, and appeared as soloist with the orchestra numerous times. He has toured and performed with many orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago, Dallas, Bergen Philharmonic, Detroit, Cincinnati, Houston, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. Prior to his appointment in St. Louis, Sparks served as Associate Principal Flutist of the Baltimore Symphony, Principal Flute of the Memphis and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras, and began his professional career as Second Flute of the Caracas Philharmonic.
Sparks maintains an active solo career, having appeared in recital and with orchestras on 5 continents. He presented the world premiere of Katherine Hoover’s Four Winds Concerto in 2014. Sparks can be heard as solo recording artist on the Summit, Pesen, and AAM labels and has recorded with many orchestras on the Sony, Telarc, Nonesuch, and Decca and other labels.
Sparks is a faculty member of DePaul University in Chicago, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has coached many of America’s emerging orchestral artists at top orchestral training programs such as the New World Symphony, National Youth Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, and the Pacific Music Festival. A frequent guest at major U.S. music schools and flute courses, many of his students occupy chairs in American orchestras. Recent activities include classes and performances at Rice University, Interlochen, New World Symphony, the Ohio Flute Festival, Eastman School of Music, London’s Royal Academy of Music, the British Flute Society, Cleveland Institute, Texas Flute Society, University of North Texas, and regular coaching at the Oberlin Conservatory.
Sparks writes and publishes several acclaimed book series for flutists, including Exploring Sound: Tone Development Through Orchestral Repertoire, Orchestral Excerpt Practice Books, Excerpt Duos, and Mozart X2. He is a Contributing Editor of Flute Talk Magazine, and publishes arrangements with Theodore Presser and his own sparksflute publishing. Mark Sparks is a Pi Kappa Lambda graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with Robert Willoughby, and an alumnus of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.
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