1991 Swan Award Winner: Art Huff


Art HuffA native Californian, Dr. Arthur E. Huff was born in Whittier to Floyd and Agnes Huff and sang his first public solo at age 4. In elementary school in Millbrae he studied Piano and Baritone Horn while continuing singing. At Burlingame High School, he was introduced to some major choral literature by Elmer Young including cantatas and oratorios in which he was a soloist. After service in WWII in the Army’s Mountain and Winter Warfare Unit (Ski Troops) he returned to the San Francisco bay area to study music – majoring in Voice at San Mateo JC, and then completing BA and MA degrees with minors in Drama and PE at San Jose State. Next he taught junior high vocal music in Santa Cruz and then taught at the College of Idaho before returning to California to teach at Porterville High School and College for 8 years. In 1964 he began his teaching at Fresno State directing the Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Men’s Chorus, as well as teaching Conducting, Choral Arranging, Voice, and supervising student teachers in music. His doctorate was completed in 1971 at the University of Arizona with vocal study with Professor Eugene Conley and additional study at Stanford University.

Dr. Huff served as Vocal Representative to the Boards of the California Music Educators Association and the California branch of the American Choral Directors Association. He was elected Vocal Representative, and Vice President of CMEA and President of ACDA.

In the community, he has had solo performances with the Fresno Philharmonic seven times, and prepared choirs for performances with that orchestra from 1964-1988. He has been the Choir Director at St Paul’s Methodist Church, 1st Methodist Church, and St James Episcopal Cathedral. He also served on the Board and Chairman of the ECCO Conference Center. Dr Huff was also active in operas, singing lead roles with the Fresno Opera, Tucson, and Stanford University operas. Several of his former students have choral music teaching positions throughout the country and one directs a professional choir in London.

Travels to Europe and Asia as a singer and conductor include performances in Russia and China. He also had a US Tour with performances at the New York World’s Fair and at the Seattle World’s Fair. Seventeen summers were spent singing and studying conducting with world renowned conductor and President of the International Bach Society, Helmut Rilling at the yearly International Bach Festivals in Eugene, Oregon. Performances with Dr Rilling included concerts in Eugene, Portland, and at the Hollywood Bowl. He also sang professionally with Roger Wagner in LA and in San Diego, and with the Chamber Choir at the Aspen Summer Music Festival in Colorado.

In 1966 he became the director of the Fresno Community Chorus which he directed until his retirement in 1988. Since then he has continued to sing with the Fresno Community Chorus and with the choir at St. Columba’s Chruch. National Music Company of Los Angeles and H. W. Gray Music in New York publish his works.

Dr Huff is a life member of MENC and ACDA and has been honored with awards from the Fresno Arts Council, the CMEA Hall of Fame, and Emeritus Professor of Music at Fresno State.