As a saxophonist/flutist, Dr. Wiggins is a highly respected musician and educator with 15 albums to his credit as a sideman and soloist. He has shared the stage with Jimmy Heath, Grady Tate, Frank Foster, Nnenna Freelon, Fred Wesley, Slide Hampton, Louie Bellson, Vanessa Rubin, Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis and has been a featured soloist with the North Carolina Symphony. Dr.Wiggins is a recipient of the Walter J. Norfleet Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts by an Artist and the UNC-Greensboro Jazz Education Service Award.
Dr. Ira Wiggins, Director of Jazz Studies at North Carolina Central University, holds the Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received the Master of Music in Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and the B. A. in Music Education from North Carolina Central University.
Overseeing NCCU’s jazz program, Dr. Wiggins’ students have received Downbeat Magazine Awards, International Association for Jazz Education Sisters In Jazz Recognition, and Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Selections. “Blues and the Verdant Green” is their latest recording. NCCU’s jazz groups have appeared at numerous festivals receiving top honors, including first place honors at the Villanova Jazz Festival held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Notable performances include two performances at the Montreux, Switzerland and Vienne, France Jazz Festivals, National Music Education Conferences, two performances at the White House and an invitation to perform a tribute for Dr. Billy Taylor in Kansas City, Missouri in May 2006. In 2008, performances included the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in Toronto, Canada with current Artists-in-Residence Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, and a performance in the British Virgin Islands. The NCCU Jazz Ensemble received two important invitations in 2009 (the 55th Annual Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and the 30th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival).