Heather Spence, Marine Biologist
Orchestrating Coastal Marine Ecology Investigation and Outreach

Heather Spence, Marine Biologist

Traynor Composition Competition Winner

Finally getting a chance to post about my new status as the World Champion of Viola da Gamba Composition! Ok ok, well, I’m pretty excited that I won the International Traynor Composition Competition for new music for viol consort. My piece is called “equilibrium” and is for four viols. One of the lines stays on the same pitch throughout the piece, a fun challenge (and yes, I was inspired by Purcell).  Here’s the write up in Early Music America –

Early Music America


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Laz Tiyas and Flory Jagoda

This Friday we lost our Nona Flory – composer, musician, singer, mentor, performer, reviver of the Ladino language… We are grateful for the time we had together and honored to help carry on her amazing musical legacy. Flory Jagoda taught Laz Tiyas her songs by ear, to carry on the tradition of songs passing down from women to women.

Laz Tiyas performing in 2011

Laz Tiyas performing at County Fair in 2011


LAZ TIYAS. A group of women came to Flory in 2008 and asked her to teach them her songs. Since then they have been singing together every week. The name “Laz Tiyas” honors her aunts in her song of the same name.

Laz Tiyas include:

Tiya Mazalta – Janet Dunkelberger – Arlington VA
Tiya Grasya – Maya Giacobbe – Arlington VA
Tiya Luna – Heather Spence – Arlington VA
Tiya Paloma – Martha Halperin – Arlington VA
Tiya Estreya – Cory Giacobbe – Pristina, Kosovo
Tiya Miriam – Judith Wouk – Ottawa, Canada
Tiya Regina – Regina Barker-Barzell, Arlington VA
Tiya Elena – Elena Yepes – Medellín, Colombia

Laz Tiyas street performance 2009

Laz Tiyas street performing in 2009

Laz Tiyas performing in 2019

Laz Tiyas singing on Capitol Hill 2019

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‘Reef Recall’ cello+soundscape performance July 8 in DC

_20151009_113752As part of my ongoing work on Ocean Memory, on July 8 2018 at noon I will present a new composition for live solo cello with recorded coral reef soundscape composition entitled ‘Reef Recall.’ The piece explores past crustacean and fish conversations in the context of natural and human-imposed cycles. The performance is sponsored by the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and DC Listening Lounge ‘Sound Scene XI: Mapping Memory’.

Full performance schedule and details:





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Sound and the Sea panel at National Academy of Sciences

In March I had the honor and privilege to curate and moderate a panel on Sound and the Sea at the National Academy of Sciences, as part of the DASER series. Bringing together science, music, policy and more we explored the ocean as a world of sound and how we can better respect and listen to it.

Videos of the presentations are now up on you tube -check them out!

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