Elliott Kay

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Elliott Kay is a guitarist and composer from Santa Cruz, California. After beginning guitar lessons at the age of 8, Elliott instantly fell in love with music. Throughout middle and high school, he played in bands of many genres, such as rock, reggae, jazz, metal, and folk.

Elliott attended Cabrillo College for two years, where he studied both jazz and classical music and developed a basis in music theory that laid the path for his future endeavors in composition. He then transferred to UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology with an emphasis on world music composition. At UCLA, he played in a variety of different musical traditions, including Yoruba drumming, Brazilian popular music, Hindustani classical music, American bluegrass, and Middle Eastern classical music, while also studying jazz and contemporary classical composition with professors Tamir Hendelman and James Newton.

Currently residing in Santa Cruz, Elliott teaches guitar, performs with multiple bands, and continues to compose for various instruments. He is currently directing a student staff program for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Greatly influenced by his time studying world music, Elliott tries to constantly expand his musical palette and practice a broad and inclusive musical philosophy that aims to bring people together by breaking down preconceived boundaries between musical styles.

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Elliott Kay