Composer Profile: Timothy Higgins

Composer Timothy Higgins’ piece, Sinfonietta, for brass ensemble and percussion, will open the March 18 concert with Symphony Parnassus. Higgins, principal trombone with the San Francisco Symphony, in the Robert L. Samter Chair since 2008, is a Houston, Texas, native who began composing several years ago for players in the orchestra and other musician friends. His compositions and arrangements have been heard in San Francisco Symphony chamber and holiday concerts.

“I feel like my job as a composer is to create something that will hopefully have its own life afterwards,” Timothy said. “I compare it to parenting: I’m ‘raising’ this piece, then at a certain point you cut the cord and let it go, and hope that it has everything it needs to survive.” 

Prior to his post in San Francisco, Timothy was the acting second trombonist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.  He has a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, Grand Teton Music Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Washington National Opera, and Baltimore Symphony. 

In addition to his busy performing career, Timothy is a sought-after arranger of music. He was the sole arranger of the National Brass Ensemble’s Gabrieli recording. Additionally, he has arranged music for CT3 Trombone Quartet, National Brass Quintet, Bay Brass, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Brass Ensemble. He has also composed works for brass instruments in solo and chamber settings.

His arrangements and compositions have been performed by the Washington Symphonic Brass, the Bay Brass, the San Francisco Symphony brass section, the Chicago Symphony brass section, the Los Angeles Philharmonic brass section, and numerous university brass ensembles . His arrangements and original compositions are available through his publishing company, 415Music.

As a teacher, Timothy been a faculty member of the Pokorny Seminar since 2012, and is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at Northwestern University. He has also led masterclasses in Japan, China, Canada and the United States, including classes at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the New World Symphony, and the Juilliard School of Music.

In 2005, Timothy won the Robert Marstellar Solo Trombone Competition, as well as the ITA Trombone Quartet competition with CT3.  While attending the Tanglewood Music Center, Timothy was awarded the Grace B. Upton Award for Outstanding Fellow. In 2013, Timothy released his solo CD, Stage Left which is available from his website: