Higgins was born in Gloucestershire (1983) and grew up in the Forest of Dean. He studied french horn and composition at Chetham’s School of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music, and the Royal College of Music.
Significant commissions include Der Aufstand for the 2012 BBC Proms, Rough Voices for the 2020 BBC Proms, and the ‘fast, exciting and brilliantly scored’ [The Telegraph] Velocity for the Last Night of the 2014 BBC Proms; the Ivor Novello Award winning trombone concerto, The Book of Miracles (2019) – premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and soloist Helen Vollam; and the premiere of his first opera The Monstrous Child, (2019) at the Royal Opera House which opened to critical acclaim, described as ‘a triumph’ [the Guardian ★★★★] and ‘a spectacular new opera’ [Culture Whisper ★★★★].
Higgins comes from a long lineage of working-class brass band musicians dating back to 1895 and his passion for this heritage has resulted in a number of vigorous, daring works for brass such as Destroy, Trample as Swiftly as She (2011), Prophecies (2017) and So Spoke Albion (2019) commissioned for the European Brass Band Championships.
Higgins was appointed Rambert Dance Company’s inaugural Music Fellow in 2010, writing ballet scores including What Wild Ecstasy (2012) and the award winning Dark Arteries (2016). Higgins has received BASCA nominations for A Forest Symphony (2009), What Wild Ecstasy (2012), Diversions After Benjamin Britten (2013), The Ruins of Detroit (2015), and A Dark Arteries Suite (2018). Dark Arteries was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (2016) and in 2019 he won an Ivor Novello Award for The Book of Miracles.
His career thus far has seen Higgins commissioned by – and work with – orchestras, ensembles and soloists including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 10:10, Rambert, the Carducci Quartet, the Fidelio Trio, the Piatti Quartet, David Cohen and Mark Simpson.