D. J. Sparr

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D. J. Sparr is an American composer and guitarist fluent in both classical and vernacular musical styles. He has performed with the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini, Eastman's "Musica Nova" Contemporary Music Ensemble, pop bands, and as a studio musician. D. J. premiered Michael Daugherty's electric guitar concerto with the Alabama Symphony in March, 2008. He was the classical guitar soloist for his own "Guitar Folio" with the University of Michigan Chamber Orchestra and recently performed Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint to a packed house of over two-thousand at the Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum's "After Hours." He performs as a guest of Washington DC’s Great Noise Ensemble, which premiered his “General Electric”–a concerto grosso for rock band and chamber orchestra.

His music has been performed and commissioned by numerous ensembles, including the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, eighth blackbird, the Dayton Philharmonic, and the "Late Show" with Jay Leno band. He is the recipient of the $10,000 Grand Prize in the orchestra category for the BMG/Williams College National Young Composers Competition, was an alternate for the 1998-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, and has won two BMI Student Composer Awards.

Dr. Sparr is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 2003. His composition teachers include Michael Daugherty, Augusta Read Thomas, and Pulitzer Prize winners William Bolcom, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner.

D. J. is the composer-in-residence with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra's education and community engagement department.

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