“colorful and high octane” – Early Music America

“channeling the voice of the ocean” – Rannie Rodil

Heather Ruth Spence, PhD

Musician, Composer, Bioacoustician, Sound artist

Heather Spence is a sound artist based in Washington DC who combines music and science to evoke greater sonic connection with each other and our ocean planet. Her compositions draw on genres from medieval to experimental, from classical to trip hop, and combine recordings from her coral reef research, live instruments, electronic instruments, and sonified data. Her sonic creations can be found in CDs and soundtracks, sheet music, science conferences – even phone answering services. She received a Presidential Arts Fellowship for music at the George Washington University, and completed her PhD in Bio-Acoustics at the City University of New York. Heather is the winner of the 2022 International Leo M. Traynor Composition Competition for her work “equilibrium.”

Interested in booking for an event? Heather Spence creates music scientifically tuned to any occasion. Her primary performance instruments are cello, viola da gamba, piano and voice. Merging music with neuroscience, she crafts set lists, improvisations and meditations suited to each group of listeners, whether it be a wedding, funeral, gala, conference, opera or on a boat. Heather performs locally and internationally as a soloist and with Sephardic, Arabic and world music ensembles.

Newest Music Posts

Example Projects –

Whale Hello There album (2023)

World Listening Day Ambassador and Theme Creator “Beyond Boundaries” (2022)

Hear The Light – virtual CD release celebrations (2020)

Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum (2018 Sound Scene – premier of “Reef Recall” for live cello and soundscape composition)

Dine N Dash by World Central Kitchen (2018 cello at SEI)

Djerassi Resident Artists Program (2017 NAKFI sponsored member of month long residency, composed and premiered “Hydrophone Array” trio for flute, oboe, and bass viola da gamba)

The Birchmere (2017 Raven’s Night – cello)

Virginia Beach Resort Hotel (2015 International Association for the Study of Dreams – keynote lecture & cello)

Mellon Auditorium (2015 Saltanah Ensemble for King of Saudi Arabia – cello)

Bulgarian Embassy (2015 Judith Cohen – voice)

National Aquarium in Baltimore (2014 Saltanah Ensemble & Shems – cello)

Teatro de Cancun, Mexico (2014 Chamber Orchestra of Cancun – cello)

Franciscan Monastery (2014 Good Friday Service – voice)

The Library of Congress (2013 Flory Jagoda, the Celebration Concert – voice & viola da gamba)

Lisner Auditorium (2012 Ana Masry Band – cello & concertina)

CDs – Hear The Light (original compositions, voice and strings 2020); Conscious Structure, Universal Antithesis (cello, electric cello, composition)

Sheet Music – NMV7 “Dom,” NMV9 “Vale la Pena?” and NMV 50 “L” (available through

Downloadable Soundscape – Soothing Womb Sounds for Baby

Musical analysis of dolphin vocalizations and habitats

Contact Heather Spence for details on contracting her for –

Music performance (solo or group) for public or private events, including special music;

Recorded music, nature recordings, video soundtracks, recording sessions, soundscape/noise consulting;

Compositions, arrangements, sheet music, music transcription; Private or group lessons; Public speaking

Portfolio: Heather Spence Music Portfolio