James Higgs

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Dr. James Higgs

  •  ? 1829 in Lambeth; † 26. April 1902 in London was an English organist and teacher.[1]


James Higgs, studied under his father, an amateur of ability. He succeeded the late Dr. Wylde as organist of Eaton Chapel in 1844 and in the following year, on the secession of his brother Marcellus Higgs, he became organist of St.Benet and St.Peter, Paul's Wharf. His successive organ appointments were St. Mark's, Kennington, 1852–64, St.Michael's, Stockwell, 1864-7 and for twenty-eight years of St.Andrews, Holborn, 1867 to 1895, when he retired from playing in public.

In 1864 he was among the first twenty-one member of the Royal College of Organists.[2] Some years later, in 1867, he was appointed as examiner for the Royal College of Organists and from then on he frequently acted as examiner. Even later, in 1874, he graduated Mus. Bac. Oxon from New College, Oxford.[3] His well-deserved doctor's degree was conferred upon him by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As original member of the Musical Association, he succeeded the late Charles Kensington Salaman as Hon.Secretary in 1877, and held the post for six years. He read two instructive papers before the Association - on 'Bach's Art of Fugue', in 1877, and 'Samuel Wesley : his life, times, and influence on music', in 1894. He was the author of two useful printers - Fugue, and Modulation. In collaboration with Sir Frederic Bridge he edited 'Bach's Organ Music', and he was the editor of a collection of two-part Solfeggi in Novello's Primer Series.

In 1883 he was appointed as one of the Directors of Trinity College, London and Professor of Harmony at the Royal College of Music. In 1900 he received the appointment of Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of London.[4] Dr. Higgs will be long remembered for his thoroughness as a teacher and for his kindly nature - qualities possessed by him in no small degree, and to which the present writer, one of his old pupils, bears full and grateful testimony.[5]



  • Editor of a collection of two-part Solfeggi, Novello Primer Series.
  • Joint editor of the organ works of J.S. Bach with Sir Frederick Bridge.[8]


  1. ^ Evening Telegraph. Wednesday 30 April 1902, p.3. Prominent London Organist Dead
  2. ^ Charles William Pearce, A Biographical Sketch of Edmund Hart Turpin,1911
  3. ^ A Short Historical Account of the Degrees in Music at Oxford and Cambridge: Charles Francis Abdy Williams. Novello, Ewer and Company, 1893
  4. ^ Musical Times, Vol 43, June 1902. p.402.
  5. ^ Obituary, MT, 43 (June 1902), 402
  6. ^ Bishop and Son, organ builders: the story of J.C. Bishop and his successors. Laurence Elvin. 1984
  7. ^ Musical Times. Volume 46. p.164
  8. ^ The Organ Works of J.S. Bach, 19 volumes. Novello and Co.
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