An award-winning teacher, performer, and composer, Matt Hightower is the Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the Florida State University College of Music and principal tuba with the Tallahassee Symphony. Prior to his appointment at Florida State, Hightower held similar positions at the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
An avid chamber musician, Hightower was tubist with the Corpus Christi, Kingsville, and University of Kentucky Brass Quintets. He has also performed with the Lexington Philharmonic Brass Quintet, the Mirari Brass Quintet, the Atlas Tuba Quartet, Backburner Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, and Concert:Nova
Some of his credits as a large ensemble performer include appearances with the Bloomington Camerata Orchestra, The Columbus (IN) Symphony, The Evansville Philharmonic, The Iceland Symphony Orchestra, The Louisville Ballet, The Jackson Symphony, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Bach Festival, the WCIT World Orchestra in Yerevan, Armenia, and David Baker’s 20th Century Bebop Band.
Hightower, a product of entrepreneurship, firmly believes in the importance of 21st-century musicians who acquire and maintain a diverse set of skills. As such, Hightower’s career embodies every aspect of the music process from composing and arranging to recording and performing. Hightower’s debut album, Re(in)spiration, released in 2019, was a finalist for the 2021 ITEA Roger Bobo Award for Excellence in Recording. According to the International Tuba Euphonium Association Journal, “Re(in)spiration illustrates Hightower’s outstanding skills as a performer and artist” and “showcases [his] total control of the horn, concrete fundamentals, and musical sincerity.” He can also be heard on the University of Texas Wind Ensemble’s Wine Dark Sea, Society of Composers, Inc.’s Flare: Vol 32, the University of Kentucky Faculty Brass Quintet’s New Music for Brass Quintet, and the University of Kentucky Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble’s Blue Thunder, amongst others.
Hightower himself has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 KMEA Intercollegiate Composition Contest, the 2021 ITEA Winston Morris Award for Tuba Ensemble Composition, and the 2023 ITEA Harvey Philips Award for Excellence in Composition for tuba in a solo role. Many of his arrangements and original works are published through Potenza Music and Absolute Brass Publishing. He is also a composer for Fannin Musical Productions, where he arranges and composes music for high school marching bands across the United States.
Hightower is also a dedicated educator whose students have won prizes at the Leonard Falcone Competition, Macauley Chamber Music Competition, and various regional and International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences including the inaugural ITEA Collegiate Ensembles Competitive Showcase Competition in 2023.
As an active member of the International Tuba Euphonium Association, Hightower has performed and adjudicated at several regional and international ITEA events and hosted the 2022 Midwest Regional Conference at the University of Kentucky.
Hightower earned the BM in music education from Murray State University, the MM in tuba performance from Indiana University, and the DMA from the University of Texas at Austin. His primary instructors were Ray Conklin, Daniel Perantoni, and Charles Villarrubia, with additional instruction in the field of composition from Mike D’Ambrosio, John Fannin, and P.Q. Phan.
Matt Hightower is a B&S performing artist.
View All Faculty and Staff