Bach Society Music Director + Conductor
A. Dennis Sparger has led the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra in over 100 performances of the major works by Bach and other composers since 1986. Performances have included established soloists Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Erie Mills and William Warfield, and have nurtured outstanding young singers Thomas Barrett, Kristen Frost, Angela Horn, Lester Lynch, Mary Wilson and Sherezade Panthaki.
Under Dr. Sparger’s leadership, the Bach Society introduced a Young Artists scholarship program for singers under the age of thirty; the awards have provided financial support and solo opportunities for 52 aspiring soloists to date. He also established a professional core of paid Principal Singers, bringing employment opportunities for trained choral singers. Upon his recommendation, the Board of Directors designated a position for Composer-in-Residence in 2004 to promote the creation of new works to be premiered by the Bach Society Chorus.
He was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Harold Decker. He received bachelor and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University, where he studied choral music with John Maharg. He founded and was conductor of the Masterworks Chorale in Belleville, Illinois, 1974-2007, and the Masterworks Children’s Chorus, 1985–1990.
Dr. Sparger was recently honored with the Avis Blewett Award, presented by the American Guild of Organists, St. Louis chapter. In 2013, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award by the University of Missouri–St. Louis. And, in 2005, he was selected as one of the 50 Outstanding Graduate Alumni of the Graduate School of Eastern Illinois University. He has also received recognition from the Illinois chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and St. Louis Cathedral Concerts.
He has been a state president for ACDA and served as a panelist for the Illinois Arts Council and the Missouri Arts Council. His scholarly article on the 17th Century Polish composer Andrzej Hakenberger appears in the latest edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Dr. Sparger was associate producer and writer of JOY!, a weekly program of choral music heard on CLASSIC 99 from 1999 to 2010. He is a member of ACDA, Chorus America and the National Society of Arts & Letters, and a past board member of Artist Presentation Society.