Dr. Jim Sparks is a teacher, conductor, and researcher from Vancouver, Canada. His recent positions include interim Director of Choral Activities at Boston University, adjunct Professor of Conducting at the University of British Columbia School of Music, and Lecturer in Music Education at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. He is senior advisor for choral music for Music Mentors International and former teacher of vocal, choral, and ensemble music at the renowned Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) in Langley, British Columbia for two decades. Jim has been chorus director for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Ryan’s Requiem for a Generation, and William Walton’s Henry the Fifth with the Vancouver Symphony and Maestro Bramwell Tovey. His recent choral season at Boston University featured performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, Poulenc’s Gloria, Holst’s Planets at Boston Symphony Hall, and a collaborative residency with renowned Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. Jim is the recipient of the Professional Music Educator Award from the British Columbia Music Educators Association and the Healey Willan Award from the BC Choral Federation. For his research into Cross-Cultural singing, he received the Simon Fraser University President’s PhD Award in 2014.
In his roles as researcher, conductor, and educator, Jim connects active research with music learning, performance, and conducting. With support from the Canada Council, the Canadian Music Educators Association, the AIRS collaborative initiative, and Simon Fraser University, he has been a guest conductor and researcher in singing with four renowned international conductors: Alina Orraca in Havana, Cuba (Schola Cantorum Coralina); Joseph Muyale Inzai in Nairobi, Kenya (National Boys and Girls Choir of Kenya); Anatoliy Avdievski in Kiev, Ukraine (Veriovka Choir); and Helle Høyer in Aarhus, Denmark (Aarhus Pigakor Choir).
In addition, Jim has taught choral and orchestral conducting at the undergraduate and graduate level to students in Canada, the United States, and Brazil. He has enjoyed conducting residencies in Sobral, Brazil; Charente-Maritime, France; and Havana, Cuba, and has given presentations on his singing research in Canada, Kenya, Denmark, Estonia, France, and Brazil. He is on the panel of international adjudicators for the International Choral Kathaumixw in Canada, and continues to be in demand as an adjudicator, lecturer, guest conductor, and music consultant throughout Canada and abroad.