B.S. (Peabody), M.M. (Northwestern)
Associate Professor of Percussion
William G. Wiggins is Associate Professor of Timpani and Percussion at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. Until his retirement in July 2015, he served as principal timpanist of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, holding that position since 1969. He can be heard on recordings on the Naxos, Decca, Mercury and Magnatone labels, including Grammy-winning recordings of the music of Michael Daugherty, Joseph Schwantner and Joan Tower.
In addition to his tenure with the Nashville Symphony, Wiggins continues as principal timpanist with the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra of Door County, Wisconsin conducted by Victor Yampolsky.
In 2001 he premiered "Concerto Art Nouveau for Timpani and Orchestra" with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, a piece that was written for him by Daniel K. Sturm. He subsequently performed the concerto with the Peninsula Music Festival.
Wiggins holds degrees from George Peabody College for Teachers and Northwestern University. His principal teachers have included Farrell Morris, Terry Applebaum, George Gaber and Cloyd Duff. Nick Woud and Marinus Komst, members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, have particularly influenced him.
Over the course of his 49 years as timpanist of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and the Peninsula Music Festival, Wiggins has performed most of the "canon" of Western orchestral music, including composers from J.S. Bach through those of our time, many of them multiple times. These performances have been led by a variety of well-known conductors, including Thor Johnson, Willis Page, Michael Charry, Robert Shaw, John Nelson, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Victor Yampolsky, Giancarlo Guerrero, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Neville Marriner, Helmut Rilling, Sir Alexander Gibson, Jahja Ling, Anshel Brusilow, Jorge Mester, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Stanislaw Skrowaczevski, Hans Graf, Nicholas MeGegan, Christopher Seaman, Lawrence Foster and Joann Falleta.
Wiggins has been an active member of the Percussive Arts Society since 1970, hosting the first Tennessee Day of Percussion at George Peabody College in 1974 and Percussive Arts Society International Conventions in 1989 and 1996. He served on the PAS Board of Directors from 1996 to 2001, and is currently on the Symphonic Committee of PAS. He is a life member of the Nashville Musicians Association, Local 257 American Federation of Musicians.
Wiggins is proud to be an Artist Endorser of Pearl/Adams percussion products and Sabian Cymbals.