Olivia Sparkhall studied composition at school with Derek Bourgeois and at Durham University with Paul Archbold, and has since received critical acclaim for her vocal music. She was short-listed in the Cappella Nova competition in 2018 for Dona Nobis Pacem and has received several commissions for choral compositions including for International Women’s Day services in 2018 (Lux Aeterna) and 2019 (Faith and Hope). Her choral music has been sung in the UK and abroad including on BBC One’s Songs of Praise programmes. Olivia is published by Encore Publications, Chichester Music Press, and within the Kassian Choral Series of Banks Music Publications both as composer, and as arranger and editor of choral music by women composers from the past. She is part of the series research and editorial team for the Multitude of Voyces CIC Sacred Music by Women Composers set of anthologies, as well as contributing original compositions and arrangements to each of the three volumes. Olivia has written various pieces for cello and chamber ensemble, both for professionals and for children. These range from pieces for solo cello, cello duet, wind quintets and percussion pieces to the multi-violin arrangement, Jingle All The Way. Self-published music can be viewed and purchased here.
2016 Ding Dong! Merrily on High for SS & piano
2018 Gabriel's Message for SSA & harp (premiered at Salisbury Cathedral) / piano (premiered at Southwark Cathedral)
2018 Jingle all the way for four violins & piano (with opt. sleigh bells)
2019 Faith and hope for congregational use (commissioned by Multitude of Voyces)
2019 Crucifixus for SATB soli & SATB chorus
2019 Day of Days (an Easter Anthem) for SATB
2019 Che si puo fare? Barbara Strozzi arr. Sparkhall for SSA & piano
2019 St Paul's Benediction Amy Beach ed. Sparkhall for SS & piano
2019 Ave Maria Clara Schumann ed. Sparkhall for SA & piano
2019 This Holy Night for SSA & piano
2019 The Baptism of Jesus for SATB
2019 Mass for unison voices & piano/organ
2019 Gebet in der Christnacht Fanny Hensel ed. Sparkhall for SATB
2019 Weihnachtslied Louise Reichardt ed. Sparkhall for SATB
2020 Amy Beach Canticles for SATB
2020 Begin And Never Cease
2020 The Desert Emma Mundella arr. Sparkhall for SSA & piano
2020 The Desert Emma Mundella arr. Sparkhall for SATB & piano
2020 Gabriel's Message for SAT/B and piano
2020 Es ist ein' Ros' Maria Theresia von Paradis ed. Sparkhall SS & piano
2020 Resonet in Laudibus Alice Nevin arr. Sparkhall SATB & organ
2021 A Renewal of Faith for SATB & organ
2021 As we journey on (an Advent Anthem) for SATB & organ
2021 God of all creation (A Harvest Anthem) for SAT/B & piano/organ
2021 Jubilate SSSA and piano/organ
2021 I saw three ships for Young Voices & piano
2021 The Dormouse's Carol Elizabeth Poston arr. Sparkhall SS & piano
Olivia was educated at St Paul’s Girls’ School, then at Durham and Cambridge Universities, conducting the Hatfield Chamber Orchestra (Durham) and Addenbrooke’s Hospital Choir (Cambridge). She was awarded a Choral Scholarship at Peterhouse Chapel Choir, Cambridge, having sung with Hatfield College Chapel Choir whilst at Durham. After moving to the South West, she spent five years conducting the choir of St Mary’s Church Fordingbridge before founding the Avon Valley Youth Choir which provides opportunities for talented local singers whilst raising funds for local charities.
Olivia read for an MA in Voice Pedagogy with the University of Wales, and enjoys contributing to journals on the subjects of vocal warm-ups for children, voice health for teenagers, and composing for the community.
At Godolphin School, Olivia directs Godolphin Voices, Godolphin Vocal Ensemble and the Senior String Ensemble. In Salisbury Cathedral, Olivia conducted a 400-strong choir of local school-children at the Barnardo’s Young Supporters’ Concerts 2012 and 2013. In 2014 she conducted a massed children’s choir in the orchestra-accompanied Folk Songs of the Four Seasons by Vaughan Williams. Olivia now works for the Barnardo's Young Supporters' Concerts in London, conducting massed choirs of over 500 school-children in the Barbican Hall in June 2018, and in Central Hall, Westminster in June 2019.
She has taken Godolphin Vocal Ensemble to sing at a variety of prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Hall, Royal Festival Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, St Paul's Covent Garden, Oriel College Oxford, Sheffield City Hall, Albert Hall Nottingham and the Lowry Theatre at BBC Media City in Salford. Under Olivia’s direction, Vocal Ensemble has appeared on the BBC Songs of Praise competition in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018, receiving the runners-up trophy in 2012. The choir won the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition in 2011 and 2015.
In 2016, Vocal Ensemble was invited to sing for the Barnardo’s 150th Anniversary service in St Paul’s Cathedral which attracted attention from the national press. The choir has just come to the end of a commissioning partnership project, having given the premiere of a cycle of four songs for SSA and harp to the words of Julian of Norwich. In 2017 ‘All Shall Be Well’ by Carol J Jones, in 2018 'Our Endless Day' by Hilary Campbell, in 2019 'Love was his meaning' by Gemma McGregor, and in 2021 'We sekyn here rest' by Master of the Queen's Music, Judith Weir.
Cello (Children and Adults)
An experienced GCSE and A level music teacher, Olivia has written many resources for the teaching of composition and the written/listening papers which can be viewed here. She also produces resources for choir-training, specialising in the training of KS2-3 (ages 8-14), and Youth (ages 13-18) choirs.
Coming soon: A Young Person's Guide to Vocal Health
Click for TES
Sparkhall, O., 2019. Five Hundred Years of Neglect. Church Music Quarterly, June 2019. 19-23.
Stewart, L., Sparkhall, O., et al. (Editors), 2019. Sacred Music by Women Composers Volume 1: SATB Anthems. Salisbury: Multitude of Voyces.
Stewart, L., Sparkhall, O., et al. (Editors), 2020. Sacred Music by Women Composers Volume 2: Upper Voices Anthems. Salisbury: Multitude of Voyces.
Stewart, L., Sparkhall, O., et al. (Editors), 2020. Sacred Music by Women Composers Volume 3: From Advent to Candlemas. Salisbury: Multitude of Voyces.
Sparkhall, O., 2020. The development of a vocal warm-up resource for busy teachers: creating a set of warm-up resource cards for teachers and directors of children's choirs. Choral Directions Research Journal, 1. 17-32.
Sparkhall, O., 2020. St Paul's Benediction. A project to make music by historical women more accessible. Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture Volume 24: University of Nebraska Press.
Sparkhall, O., 2021. Various pieces in the Kassian Choral Series, Banks Music Publications.
Sparkhall, O., 2021. Various pieces, Encore Publications.
Sparkhall, O., 2021. Various pieces, Chichester Music Press.
Sparkhall, O., 2021. A Young Person's Guide to Vocal Health. Compton Publishing
Sparkhall, O., 2021. Saying the right thing. Church Music Quarterly, September 2021. 30-32.