James Higgs is a DMA in choral conducting student at the University of Arizona studying with Dr. Elizabeth Schauer. Currently, James is the Music Director at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Tucson and Director of the Faculty/Staff Choir at the University of Arizona. Recent positions include Assistant Conductor for Treble Glee at the University of Arizona, Assistant Conductor for the Helios Ensemble, and Assistant Conductor of the Tucson Masterworks Chorale. James was awarded the John Bloom Choral Scholarship, Graduate College Fellowship, Joe Fannin Fine Arts Scholarship, and the Van de Verde Memorial Scholarship at the University of Arizona. This past year, James conducted in a masterclass with Tallis Scholars director Peter Phillips, gave a poster presentation at the Western ACDA Conference, and was selected as a Conducting Fellow for the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute.
Originally from the East Bay in Northern California, James moved to Southern California to attend Chapman University’s Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and then a Master of Music in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music where he studied art song, chamber music, and opera with Dr. Alan Smith.
As both soloist and collaborative pianist, James has performed throughout Southern California and in Austria, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
In the past James received scholarships and fellowships to attend Songfest at the Colburn School and Brevard Music Festival as a collaborative pianist where he performed in art song recitals, concerto competitions, and master classes for Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, and Graham Johnson. An advocate for new vocal works, James has also performed in master classes of composers Jake Heggie, Ben Moore, and Richard Pearson Thomas. As a soloist, James has appeared in master classes of Sergei Babayan, Da Ming Zhu, and Daniel Shapiro.
While living in Los Angeles, James worked at Neighborhood Music School where he taught piano to scholarship students and organized community outreach concerts of art song and chamber music for the Boyle Heights community. James continues to teach piano in Tucson and is a teacher and program coordinator at the Music and Dance Academy.