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Alumni Spotlight: Jacob Wiggins

A Q&A with Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, Moores School of Music Alum, Jacob Wiggins.

Q: What was the year and degree you received from The University of Houston’s College of the Arts?

A: Bachelor of Music, Applied Music, French Horn Performance- December 2017

Q: Where has your [arts] career taken you since graduation?

A: After graduating from UH, I moved to Pittsburgh where I completed an Artist Diploma at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music. During my studies there I won a position with the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra where I played 2nd horn. I also had the opportunity to work with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera, and attend the Aspen Music Festival.

Q: Is there one thing that has surprised you about a career in the arts that you didn’t expect?

A: I am continuously amazed at how small and tightly bound together the music community is. Everyone you know is maybe only two degrees removed from everyone else that you know, and the more people I meet, the more this proves to be true. 

Q: What accomplishments in your career do you feel most proud of?

A: I’m frankly proud of myself for staying the course. The road to your goals is rarely a straight one, but it is essential to keep the faith that you will eventually find yourself where you want to be. Staying hungry and motivated can be difficult, but every audition and performance will put you one step closer to your ultimate goal.

Q: Are there specific skills or things you learned at the McGovern College of the Arts that you find valuable in your career now? What are they?

A: What I most appreciate about my time at the Moores School would have to be the variety of music that I was able to perform.   At no point did I feel like I was ever only working on one kind of music, because aside from my main commitments with the Wind Ensemble or Symphony Orchestra, I was playing in the pit for numerous opera performances.  Additional opportunities came up with the Jazz Orchestra, performing new works written by students of the composition studios, and performing with both a woodwind and a brass quintet. The variety of what I was able to perform prepared me to be flexible as a player.

Q: What is coming up for you in the future that we should watch for?

A: Once I graduate from Basic Training, I’ll immediately be starting my duties with the Pershing’s Own, so look for me in content on their social media pages, as well as through live broadcasts!

Q: What advice would you have for incoming students who are focusing on a career in the arts?

A: Your experience in school is going to be what you make of it, so your attitude has to be conducive to your success. Be humble enough to ask for help when you need it, and make sure that the people you surround yourself with are people who are working towards the same goals that you are. Take risks, put your work out there often, and recognize that there is something to be learned from everyone around you. Also, as often as is possible, go watch the professionals do what you are studying- the benefit of going to school in a major city like Houston is that you have access to top quality professional performances downtown at Jones Hall, The Wortham Theater, The Hobby Center, The Alley, and at countless other venues around town.  

"There are a few folks at the College of The Arts who I wouldn’t be here without, some of whom have retired, but big thanks to Carrie Young, Mark Barton, Rob Johnson, Gavin Reed, and Dr. Aaminah Durrani. There are more people that I could thank than I can count, but I always had help when I looked for it. I’m grateful to the folks who took the time to invest in me and my goals."