Dead US conductor is accused of double rape

Dead US conductor is accused of double rape


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2023

A former conductor of the Albuquerque Philharmonic has been named as the rime suspect in the rape of two women in Alabama between 1991 and 2004.

Elliott L. Higgins of Jemez Springs, New Mexico died in 2014 at the age of 73.

Higgins visited Alabama to stage an International Horn Competition. He also worked as manager of the Santa Barbara Symphony in California and the Fort Wayne Indiana Philharmonic in Indiana. Alabama police are appealing for more information. He was identified as a suspect from DNA records.

His family ran the the Hummingbird Music Camp at Jemez Springs.

Details here.


  • Skutr says:

    His prior conviction in the 1970s predates a lot of his involvement in horn competitions and youth music camps. The fact that this was potentially known by those who assisted in creating these performance opportunities is appalling.

    The corresponding websites have scrubbed all mentions of Higgins and are proceeding with business as usual.

    It seems reasonable to suspect there are A LOT of victims who are remaining quiet.

    This is all so regrettable and could have been prevented.

    • Gbsonger says:

      So why was this never mentioned while he was alive and why not go after living predators?

      • David says:

        Have you not been following the news the last few years at all? There are multiple reasons why rape charges have not been brought up till now, let alone convictions.

        1) victims’ lack of trust in the police/judiciary system
        2) the emotional strain for the victims who have to undergo invasive physical examination, oral interrogation, all of which tended to be done by men
        3) laws themselves being antiquated, the police not wanting to press charge due to the high obstacles they’d have to clear
        4) fear of retribution and harassment afterwards by the perpetrator and the public
        5) pure shame, self-doubt, self-blame

    • Geige says:

      At a bare minimum the prior conviction was knowable with the simple expedient of a background check. Was he ever subjected to one?

  • William Osborne says:

    When I was a college student in New Mexico, I would see Higgins around who was ten years older than I was. He was very strange. His family ran a music camp. He seem to think of himself as a sort of musical royalty even though the camp was very provincial. He was convinced he was going to be a great composer and had assumed a pseudonym made of a single name to reflect his assumed status. I can’t remember it, but I think it was the name of a Hindu deity or something like that.

    I remember occasionally seeing him in a long, dark colored, unkempt coat walking around the UNM campus, head bent downward in a frozen stare. Given his enormous view of himself, it was interesting that after he left NM for OH, I never heard of him again. He must have had to make some major adjustments to his sense of self and reality. Now, 40 years later I read that he was a serial rapist. Does anyone know what he was convicted of in OH in the 1970s?

    BTW, he had a sister about my age who was a fellow student at UNM. She was a very kind, down-to-earth person.

  • Jewelyard says:

    He was ugly.