“ Interestingly, the work that tried to please the least was the most compelling. Hayes Biggs’ piece Ave Formosissima harkens back to the dance-mad, melismatic and slightly raucous music of the Middle Ages. But the score, with its zig-zagging lines and pungent dissonances, is genuinely contemporary.”—New York Times
“ A Consuming Fire, a short, zesty trio by Hayes Biggs, led off the evening. The piece is framed by some engagingly angular rhythmic writing, with a lyrical nougat at the center.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“ [The] most convincing and coherent performance [was] Hayes Biggs’ homage to his composer/pianist colleague Eric Moe, E.M. am Flügel, a short piece with romantic gestures and echoes of Berg and Stravinsky.”—Aufbau
“ The Mass for All Saints would be an exciting challenge for those choirs skilled in precise intonation and rhythmic agility. Biggs writes with knowledge of and respect for the expressive capabilities of the human voice.”—Choral Journal
“ Hayes Biggs’s wedding motet Tota Pulchra Es, here being sung for the first time, impressed by its quiet solemnity and neat working of its expressive opening motif: not empty fanfares but a reminder of the seriousness and privacy of love.”—New York Times
“ Mass for All Saints by composer Hayes Biggs releases shadows transformed into tendrils of light by the arabesque of the vocal line. Contrapuntal procedures are used to their utmost expressive effect. [It] is a work of a melodist of talent in the manner of Puccini, or better yet, Respighi.”—La Liberté
“ The Biggs song, Northeast Reservation Lines, is a real party piece... the sneakiness of the changes, the liveliness of the music and the verve of the performance worked handily... a potential recital hit in the vein of Bernstein’s I Hate Music cycle.”—The Village Voice
“ All the works tried a return to tonality typical of the decade; the most successful made the return oblique and ambiguous. Hayes Biggs’ O Sacrum Convivium took off from the motet of Tallis, yet it handsomely reconfigured early modes in a modernistic scheme of free tonality.”—New York Times
“ Hayes Biggs’ To Becalme His Fever... is a vivid evocation of anxiety, fits and repose. The language embraces pointillistic colors, romantic lines and prickly episodes when the demons hover. Biggs claims a forceful and subtle dramatic hand, along with a keen command of instrumental resources.”—The Plain Dealer
Hayes Biggs was born in Huntsville, Alabama and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University, a Master of Music degree in composition from Southern Methodist University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Rhodes College. His teachers include Don Freund, Mario Davidovsky, Jack Beeson, Fred Lerdahl, Marvin Lamb and Donald Erb.
Biggs has been a fellow in composition at the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley, the Tanglewood Music Center, Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Other honors include a residency at Copland House and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Biggs has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the American Composers Forum, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Riverside Symphony, the Florilegium Chamber Choir, Rhodes College, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and organist Gail Archer.
He is a professional choral singer in the New York City area and has sung with such distinguished ensembles as the Florilegium Chamber Choir, the Gregg Smith Singers, Musica Sacra, the New Calliope Singers, the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Pro Arte Singers, and Toby Twining Music.
Currently Biggs is a member of C4 (Choral Composer/Conductor Collective). From 1991-2001 he was Associate Editor at C. F. Peters Corporation and he has been on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music since 1992.
Biggs’s music has been heard throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Latin America, in performances by the NDR-Chor (Hamburg), the Gregg Smith Singers, the New Calliope Singers, the New Amsterdam Singers, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Kiitos, the Florilegium Chamber Choir, the Avalon String Quartet, the Locrian Chamber Players, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Riverside Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, Voices of Change, Musicians’ Accord, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Empyrean Ensemble, Parnassus, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, the Concord Ensemble, C4, and the League of Composers/ISCM. His works, published by C. F. Peters Corporation, APNM and Margun Music, Inc., may be heard on the Albany, PARMA and Pro Organo labels. He is a member of BMI.
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