Tram Sparks

Adjunct Associate Professor

  • Program:
    Choral and Sacred Music
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Expertise:
    Choral Music

Tram Sparks joined the USC Thornton faculty as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. Prior to her move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, Sparks was Associate Professor and Associate Director of Choral Activities at Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, where she taught from 1999-2009. Dr. Sparks taught graduate and undergraduate courses in choral literature, conducting, and aural theory, and conducted the Concert Choir, University Chorale, Women’s Chorus and University Singers over the course of her ten years at Temple University. In addition to her appointment at Temple, she served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa) and Director of the Choral Program at St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia).

Sparks holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from Yale University School of Music, and the Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in choral conducting and piano performance, respectively, from Temple University Boyer College of Music. Sparks’s piano training, with the late Harvey Wedeen and David L. Stone, follows in the pedagogical lineages of Adele Marcus, Isabelle Vengerova, and Nicholas Slonimsky. While at Yale, she was a recipient of the Edward Stanley Seder Scholarship as well as the French Award, a choral conducting honor. Sparks holds a Certificate in program studies in Music, Worship and the Arts from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and has served as music director in churches and synagogues in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Her research interests center around two areas, including the subtle interplay between them: conducting technique rooted in dance/movement theory and analysis; and a contextual understanding of cheironomy, its forms and function, in contemporaneous early communities of worship.

Professional experience

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Merit Award for Teaching and Creative Activity (Temple University)
  • Presidential Summer Research Fellowship (Temple University)
  • The French Award (Yale Institute of Sacred Music
  • The Richard De Long Prize (Yale Institute of Sacred Music)
  • Edward Stanley Seder Scholar (Yale Institute of Sacred Music)

Academic degrees

  • DMA, Yale University School of Music, 2003
  • MMA, Yale University School of Music, 1998; MM, Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, 1995
  • BM, Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, 1993