BM Oberlin Conservatory
Flutist Mark Sparks is a dynamic orchestral artist, soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Recognized for his colorful tone, spirited phrasing, and charismatic style (described by the Denver Post as "mesmerizing"), he has performed in many of the world's most prestigious venues.
Appointed Principal Flutist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra by the late Hans Vonk in 2000, he has appeared as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony numerous times, most recently in October 2014 and on the Orchestra's 2013 California Tour in performances of Christopher Rouse's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, with STL Symphony Music Director David Robertson conducting. He has made guest appearances with numerous top ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Bergen Norway Symphony Orchestras, and was a member of the Baltimore, San Antonio, Memphis, Canton Ohio, and Caracas Venezuela Symphony Orchestras before his appointment to the STL Symphony. Recent concerto appearances include the Taiwan National and Singapore Symphony Orchestras.
Sparks can be heard as solo recording artist on the Summit and AAM labels, with various orchestras on the Sony, Telarc, Nonesuch, and Decca labels, and has recently released his third solo recording, “French Album,” a collaboration with St. Louis pianist Peter Henderson.
Mr. Sparks enjoys a generous schedule of master classes, teaching and recital performances. Recent activities included appearances for the Ohio Flute Association, Texas Flute Society, the Illinois Flute Society, the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, Oberlin College, Northwestern University, and Yale, among others, a residency at Baylor University's Flute Festival 2014, and a recital at the NFA Convention in Chicago.
Mr. Sparks is a former full-time faculty member of Baltimore's Peabody Institute, and presents annual Flute Seminars in St. Louis. He frequently coaches for top orchestral training programs such as the New World Symphony, NOI, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. In summer 2014, he was a member of the coaching faculty of the Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra.
Mr. Sparks is a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is Principal flutist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. Additionally, he is an avid writer on flute-related subjects, and a regular contributor to Flute Talk Magazine. Sparks also has recently published flute and piano arrangements with Theodore Presser.
Born in the U.S. in 1960, Mr. Sparks graduated with honors from the Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Robert Willoughby. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Society, and the National Flute Association. Mr. Sparks is an alumnus of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and also trained at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
Learn more on the Flute Studio Page