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 nature, captivating questions, and compelling stories. Elena’s music is enjoyed by both beginning and professional musicians, and it reaches diverse audiences. She specializes in music for bands and wind ensembles, and she is currently the composer/arranger of the Wind Ensemble of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras.
Elena is currently working on a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition and a Master of Music in music theory at Michigan State University, where she is a University Distinguished Fellow. Her primary teachers are David Biedenbender and Alexis Bacon. While at MSU, she has had premieres with the Wind Symphony, Concert Orchestra, and Campus Band and presented her research at the Midwest Music Research Collective and University of Connecticut Graduate Music Conference. She completed her master’s in composition at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she studied with Daniel Kellogg and Carter Pann. While at CU, she participated in the Exchange of Midwestern Collegiate Composers Conference and the New Opera Works – Composer Fellows’ Initiative, served on the Pendulum New Music Committee, and had her music performed by the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, the Denver Pops Orchestra, the CU Wind Symphony, and the Altius Quartet, among others. She received a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude in composition with minors in horn performance and American studies from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where she studied composition with Michael Slayton and Michael Rose and horn with Leslie Norton. At Vanderbilt, she was active in the Composers’ Forum and performed on horn in Blair’s wind ensemble and orchestra, as well as in several chamber groups. In the summer of 2014, she traveled to Aix-en-Provence, France, with her woodwind quintet to study chamber music with members of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Elena is also passionate about music theory and composition pedagogy. At MSU, she has taught sophomore music theory and composition lessons. At CU, she was a teaching assistant in music theory and taught Basic Music Theory, Aural Skills 1, Aural Skills 3, and Aural Skills 4. For two summers, she served as a teaching assistant at Duke University’s Talent Identification Program for a 20th century music history class for gifted high school students. At Vanderbilt, she was a musicology and music theory student assistant and served as a music theory tutor. She also has experience teaching private lessons and tutoring.
Elena’s music is published by Specht Music, and she is a member of ASCAP. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband and golden retriever. Outside of music, Elena enjoys reading, running, and baking.