Mark Sparks and Friends
October 28th, 2007 - 3:00 pm
Shuck Recital Hall, River Campus
A Cape Girardeau favorite, Mark Sparks, principal flutist of the Saint Louis Symphony, returns to Chamber Music Sundays in the company of two outstanding young Bulgarian talents: pianist Ina Selvelieva and cellist Valentina Takova. Along with the Christensen-Judd duo, these musical guests offer a varied program including a Beethoven piano trio, a Villa Lobos duo for flute and cello, and a Weber trio for flute, cello and piano.
Mark Sparks - Flute
Mark was appointed Principal Flute of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in the 2000-2001 season. Recognized for his colorful tone and spirited phrasing, he has firmly established himself as a leading American orchestral musician, teacher, recitalist, and chamber player.
He has performed as soloist in numerous venues in the United States and Japan, including Carnegie Hall and New York's Weill and CAMI Recital Halls. Mr. Sparks holds a full-time faculty position at the Aspen Music Festival, where he has taught and performed as Principal Flute of the Aspen Chamber Symphony since 1993. Prior to his appointment in St. Louis, he was a full-time faculty member of the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where he designed an innovative orchestral audition training course for flute students. While in Baltimore, he also received an award from the Baltimore Public Schools for initiating the Baltimore Symphony's musicians-in-the-schools program. Mr. Sparks has presented master classes throughout the U.S. and in South America.
Mr. Sparks has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is the former Associate Principal Flute of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He also occupied principal flute chairs in the San Antonio, Memphis, and Canton Symphony Orchestras. He began his career in Venezuela with the Caracas Philharmonic.
Mark Sparks can be heard on a solo recital album for the Summit label, as well as in numerous recordings with the Baltimore Symphony on the Telarc, Decca, and Sony labels. He has been interviewed in numerous newspapers and publications, including Time, The Flutist Quarterly, Flute Talk, and in Woodwind magazine's feature on principal flutists of the nation's ten leading orchestras.
Born in 1960 and raised in St. Louis, Mr. Sparks is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Robert Willoughby. He also attended the National Repertory Orchestra program, Aspen, and Tanglewood. Other teachers include present SLSO colleagues Jan Gippo and Janice Smith, as well as Ransom Wilson and Jacob Berg and Tory.
Valentina Takova - Cello
Valentina Takova, born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, began cello studies there at age six. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras in her native Bulgaria and in the United States. In addition, Ms. Takova has recorded extensively for National Bulgarian Radio and has appeared on this country's National Public Radio. A member of Boston's Kalistos Chamber Orchestra (which recently presented its debut performance in Merkin Hall, New York), she has also performed with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Takova has toured Canada as a chamber musician and, from 1999 to 2002, toured the United States with the V.A.V. Piano Trio. Her primary teachers include Dennis Parker, Rhonda Rider, and Alan Harris and she has performed in master classes for Aldo Parisot, Gary Hoffman, and David Finkel. Currently enrolled in the graduate program at the Yale School of Music, Ms. Takova studies there with Aldo Parisot.
Ina Selvelieva - Piano
Pianist Ina Selvelieva has performed as a soloist with many Bulgarian orchestras and has appeared in numerous solo and chamber performances not only in her native Bulgaria but also in Romania and across the United States. She holds a D.M.A. in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a B.A. in Piano Performance from the State Academy of Music Sofia, Bulgaria and a M.M. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Her recent competition prizes include the UW Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition, the Beethoven Competition at UW-Madison, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition, and the Artist Presentation Society Award in St. Louis, MO. In addition, Ms. Selvelieva received numerous performance scholarships for international festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Ppianissimo (Sofia, Bulgaria), and March Musical Days (Russe, Bulgaria)