Chair Conducting & Ensembles; Chamber Choir, Collegium Singers
Richard Sparks, Chair of Conducting & Ensembles, joins the faculty at UNT with both a distinguished academic and professional career.
He was a faculty member at Mount Holyoke College and Pacific Lutheran University, where he was Director of Choral Activities from 1983-2001. At PLU he led the Choir of the West, one of the top undergraduate choirs in the country, on regular tours and also made eight recordings with that ensemble. Sparks’ D.M.A. is from the University of Cincinnati and his dissertation (Swedish A Cappella Music Since 1945) won the ACDA’s Julius Herford Award in 1997 and later published as The Swedish Choral Miracle.
Sparks has been active in the professional world as well; guest conducting the Anchorage Music Festival (his first year substituting for an ailing Robert Shaw conducting Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem), Portland Symphonic Choir, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Exultate Chamber Singers in Toronto, and the Swedish Radio Choir. He first worked with the Swedish Radio Choir in 2002, and again in 2007 and 2008. He was also the first non-Canadian conductor to direct the Canadian National Youth Choir. In 2008 he was Music Director/Conductor for a production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo in Edmonton with period instruments.
He founded Seattle Pro Musica and conducted three ensembles from 1973-80, conducted the Seattle Symphony Chorale from 1990-94 (preparing the choir for nine recordings on the Delos label), founded and conducted Choral Arts from 1993-2006 (with whom he made three recordings on the Gothic label), and Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton, AB) from 1999 to the present. A professional chamber choir, Pro Coro has toured regularly across Canada and broadcast on CBC Radio.