Nate Sparks is a composer/arranger/performer who grew up in Runnells, Iowa. Nate began playing the piano at age 7, trumpet at 11, and pursued jazz throughout his middle school and high school years. His acceptance into several national high school honor bands and music festivals led him to a post-secondary study of jazz at the Juilliard School, where he also began his career as a writer.
Since then he has been commissioned to write music for Lucky Chops, the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, Bobby Sanabria and the Multiverse Big Band, the MSM Afro-Cuban Orchestra, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, among many others. In 2018 he made arranging contributions to a Grammy Nominated album, West Side Story Reimagined, by Bobby Sanabria and the Multiverse Big Band. While he regularly takes commissions for freelance work, his main outlet as a writer is with his own band, the Nate Sparks Big Band, a New York/Des Moines-based 18-piece jazz orchestra. Playing exclusively his own compositions, arrangements, and transcriptions, the Nate Sparks Big Band performed regularly at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in New York City in 2016-2019, and now takes root in Des Moines Iowa where he currently Resides.
In May of 2017, Nate graduated from Juilliard with a Bachelor's degree in performance, and now in addition to writing and performing, actively pursues a career as a jazz educator. Since then, Nate has been a faculty member of the Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop, the Sitka Jazz and the Simpson College Jazz Workshop. In 2020, he founded and continues to direct the Des Moines Youth Jazz Orchestra, an elite high school ensemble in Central Iowa. He has also been a guest clinician for the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Orchestra (New York, NY), The University of Scranton (Scranton, PA), Drake University (Des Moines, IA), Delaware Valley High School (Milford, PA), and Southeast Polk High School (Des Moines, IA). Nate also teaches private lessons in Jazz Piano, Piano Fundamentals, Theory, Jazz Improvisation, Composition and Arranging, and Trumpet.