Composer Elena Specht writes instrumental and vocal concert music with an emphasis on colorful textures, lively rhythms, and graceful lyricism. Her music is inspired by places, history, captivating questions, visual art, and compelling stories. Elena’s music is enjoyed by both beginning and professional musicians, and it reaches diverse audiences. Elena writes for a variety of instruments and voices, specializing in music for wind bands.
Recent performances and commissions have come from the United States Coast Guard Band, the Flint Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, The University of Southern California Thornton Winds, the Denver Pops Orchestra, and the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble. As a part of the University of Colorado’s New Opera Works – Composer Fellows’ Initiative, she wrote libretti and music for two short operas. Other recent projects include Into Her Care, a song cycle for soprano and wind ensemble; Concerto for Audience , for orchestra and audience participation; Gray Dusk , for saxophone quartet; and Brush Strokes , nine miniatures for flutist James Brinkmann based on his own paintings. Elena also values creating music that is accessible to young and amateur musicians yet rich in quality. To that end, she has written works for middle school, high school, and community ensembles and has regularly arranged music for the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras Wind Ensemble.
Elena is Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, where she teaches courses in music theory and music appreciation. She has previously taught music theory, aural skills, and composition at the college level at Michigan State University and the University of Colorado Boulder. She has additional teaching experience in music history, horn, and piano. She has presented research in composition and theory at the Exchange of Midwestern Collegiate Composers Conference, the University of Connecticut Graduate Music Conference, and the Midwest Music Research Collective Conference. She holds a D.MA. in composition and a M.M. in music theory from Michigan State University, a M.M. in composition from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a B.M. summa cum laude in composition and theory from Vanderbilt University. Her primary composition teachers have been David Biedenbender, Alexis Bacon, Carter Pann, Daniel Kellogg, and Michael Slayton. She studied horn with Leslie Norton.
Elena’s music is published by Specht Music, and she is a member of ASCAP. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, daughter, and golden retriever. Outside of music, Elena enjoys reading, baking, and spending time her with her family.