Phyllis Taylor Sparks - Pedal & Celtic harpist
The list of people whom Phyllis Taylor Sparks has played for reads like a virtual Who's Who, including the wedding of Natalie Cole, numerous events for former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, and for H.R.H. Prince Edward on his recent trip to Nashville. In addition to her work as a solo artist, Ms. Sparks has played with the Nashville Symphony on their Carnegie Hall Tour, on the Amy Grant Christmas Tour and regularly records with the Nashville String Machine. Phyllis played the new Johnny Mathis CD “Sending You A Little Christmas”. The CD features duets with Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, Jim Brickman, Gloria Estefan, Vince Gill & Amy Grant.
She is a former member of the famous Mantovani Orchestra. Ms. Sparks and her jazz trio, The Dream Machine, have played Nashville's prestigious Swan Ball. She has also accompanied Josh Groban, Martina McBride, Kip Winger, Dennis DeYoung, Dolly Parton, Donna Summer, Wynonna, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lorrie Morgan and the legendary Ray Charles, to name a few.
For two seasons, she performed the musical "Christmas Carol", starring actor Jamie Farr at the famous Ryman Auditorium. She also played with the orchestra for the pre-broadway run of Dream, The King and I, South Pacific, Camelot starring Lou Diamond Phillips, The Fantastics and the hit show The Producers at the Tennessee Performing Art Center.
Phyllis’ music has been featured on the TV shows "Mr Robot", "The Good Wife", "Tell Me A Story" and “Necessary Roughness”. Ms Sparks has also played on numerous FILM SCORES including Animal Crackers (see video), The Glass Castle, War Room and Fireproof.
Ms Sparks comes to Tennessee from Dearborn, Michigan. Phyllis holds Master and Bachelor Degrees in Music Performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a second Masters Degree in Harp Performance from Belmont University. She has 10 solo recordings on Voyager Records and has performed on countless other artists CD's. Her recordings have received airplay on radio stations around the USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, and Asia. She currently records with the Nashville String Machine, Carl Gorodetsky, contractor and the Nashville Recording Orchestra.
She has performed on numerous studio recordings, movie soundtracks and in concert performances for a variety of gospel, pop, and classical artists. Her TPAC performances include My Fair Lady, The Producers, Camelot, Dream, The King & I, South Pacific, and Christmas Carol.
Phyllis is currently the Harp Instructor at Tennessee State University in Nashville,Tennessee Nashville State Community College and Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. She was the harp instructor for Tennessee Governor's School For The Arts in June 2015. She has previously taught at Austin Peay State University, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin. Some of her Tennessee performances with orchestra include the Knoxville Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Memphis Symphony, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony. In addition, Phyllis has performed with the Owensboro Symphony and the Evansville Symphony. She was President of the Nashville Harp Society from 2008-2014. She was also formerly the American Harp Society Southern Regional Director.
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Check out the youtube video below. MS Sparks will appear at about 1:15 seconds in.