Hayes Biggs was born in Huntsville, Alabama and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University. His teachers include Don Freund, Mario Davidovsky, Jack Beeson, Fred Lerdahl and Donald Erb. Biggs has been a fellow in composition at the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley, at the Tanglewood Music Center, at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Among his honors are a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Award, which afforded him the opportunity to live and compose at Copland House in upstate New York for several weeks. Since 1992 he has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, teaching courses in the theory and composition departments.
Recent works include Symphonia brevis (2010), composed for Riverside Symphony; Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (2011), for soprano Susan Narucki and pianist Christopher Oldfather; Three Hymn Tune Preludes (2010), commissioned by organist Gail Archer; The Caged Skylark (2011), Goe lovely Rose (2014), Fortunes Pantoum (2016, on a poem by Jane Shore), and who are you? (2017, on a poem by Zsuzsanna Ardó), all composed for C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, an ensemble in which Biggs also participates as a member of the bass section; Chorale Prelude on Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (2016), for organ; Prelude & Freund’s Fuguing Tune in E (Noch einmal nach Bach) (2012), for solo piano; The Trill Is Gone (2013), for solo tenor saxophone; Inquieto (attraverso il rumore) (2015), composed for violinist Rolf Schulte; and three piano preludes, The secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal (2015), The presence of still water (2017), and “du aber bist der Baum” (“but you are tree”) (2018), commissioned by Thomas Stumpf. Current projects include a work for the eleven-piece saxophone orchestra Megalopolis; Reveries. Passions, a quartet for piano and strings; and a work for singers and chamber orchestra based on Keats’s The Eve of St. Agnes. In 2006 Biggs’s String Quartet: O Sapientia/Steal Away (2004) was given its premiere at New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall by the Avalon String Quartet on a Washington Square Contemporary Music Society concert; it was recorded by the Avalon String Quartet in 2008, and released on Albany Records. Biggs’s music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation, APNM (Association for the Promotion of New Music) and Margun Music, Inc.