(Solo piano).
Total duration ca. 7 minutes (2011)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 2011.
One movement work. 9 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Premiered in November 2011 in Santa Clara, California and New York City by Teresa McCollough, piano.


Live New York City concert premiere recording by Teresa McCollough, piano, November 17, 2011.


Audio excerpts performed by Adam Marks.


Also related:


Perpetual Spark

(Flute/piccolo, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano).
Total duration ca. 7 minutes (2011)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 2011.
One movement work. 26 pages, 8.5" x 11".

View pages of the score
view score
Listen to audio clips of Spark
1. hear
2. hear


Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score!

download perusal score


Purchase this score

Score available for $20.00 print, $8.00 digital,
from Activist Music.



Spark was the most challenging commission I've ever had, not because of the musical material, but because of its deeply emotional meaning. The piece is inspired by the life, love, energy and heart of Dale Mara Bershad, a gifted musician who often used her talents to share the joy of musical expression and wonder with young children. Mara was deeply adored by a Chicago attorney and arts patron named Sherwin Abrams, who contacted me out of the blue to compose a piece in her honor. What I learned of Mara's radiant nature led me to create not a slow elegiac piece, but one which reflects her spark of a life filled with passion and delight, burning brightly, intensely, and without end.




Arcana Album Alex Shapiro has produced a significant album of her solo piano works, including SPARK, beautifully performed by New York pianist Adam Marks. The 2020 disc, ARCANA, has been released on Innova Recordings 041.  
An adaptation of Spark for chamber sextet, titled Perpetual Spark, was recorded in September 2013 by Fifth House Ensemble, for their Cedille Records 2014 CD, Excelsior, produced by Judith Sherman.  
American Record Guide 2021 review



A GLOWING REVIEW of SPARK, which appears on the 2020 Innova Recordings release ARCANA, from the March-April 2021 issue of The American Record Guide:

Shapiro: Arcana
Adam Marks, piano
Innova 041—80 minutes

"This disc starts with Spark, an effortlessly flowing, vibrant work for piano. Composer Alex Shapiro mentions in the program notes that Spark "was inspired by the life, energy, and heart of Dale Mara Bershad, a gifted musician who often used her talents to share the joy of expression and wonder with young children", and childlike wonder is certainly here in spades in this work that is at times jubilant, at times morose, and is shockingly beautiful throughout."

—Stephanie Ann Boyd

Click HERE to read the entire review of the 2020 album tour-de-force, ARCANA, on Ms. Boyd's website.





Click the photo below
to enjoy Adam Marks performing
the first track, SPARK,
on the CD ARCANA, at Yamaha Artist Services
in New York City, September 2020:


Adam Marks, performing SPARK





Spark, page 1

Spark, first page
Spark, page 6  



Adam Marks, 4/18/21, at Andrea Clearfield's Zalon.

Tragically, Adam Marks passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 9, 2021. He was 42.

Three weeks earlier, Adam had joined Alex as a guest performer on composer Andrea Clearfield's Zalon series. In this video from the Zalon, you'll hear Adam and his brilliant, warm spark.
Talking, playing, and now, eternal.

"There's always a spark to latch on to, even when you're grieving," he said, referring to the woman for whom the elegy was composed who, like Adam, died far too young. Adam leaves an indelible, deeply positive imprint on the many people who knew him not only as a superb musician, but as an exquisite human being.

Click the image to get a sense of him.



Adam Marks, playing Spark piped out to a NYC street.

And for your bemusement:
Where there's a will, there's a way.
Or in the case of a performing pianist
in the time of COVID,
where there's a display window on a busy
Manhattan street, there's a way.

Behold, a quick cell phone excerpt of
Adam performing SPARK in late February 2021, for
The Kaufman Center's Musical Storefront series!
Adam loved this experience.

Click the image to play the brief video.



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