Prior to joining the faculty at Luther, Dr. Hightower served as professor of music and director of choral activities at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. During his tenure, the SHSU Chorale performed for the 2007 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association, the 2010 Southwestern Division of ACDA, and the 2003, 2006, and 2010 conventions of the Texas Music Educators Association.
Before joining the faculty at Sam Houston, Allen served on the faculty of California State University, Long Beach, conducting the CSULB Chamber Singers. His high school teaching experience includes teaching at Klein High School in Houston, Texas and at Odessa Permian High School. Under Allen’s direction, the Permian High School Kantorei performed for the 1996 Texas Music Educators Association convention.
A life-long church musician, Dr. Hightower has served Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches in Texas and California. For the second time, he will serve as the Duesenberg Concert Choir Chair for Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival in the summer of 2011.
From 2005-10 Allen was music director of the Houston Masterworks Chorus, Houston’s largest independent chorus. Performances with this chorus and professional orchestra included Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, masses by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, as well as the requiem masses of Fauré, Mozart, and Brahms.
Allen holds degrees from Sam Houston State University, Baylor University, the Eastman School of Music, and UCLA. He was the first-prize winner in the graduate division of the ACDA Conducting Competition in 1997. From 1997-2000 he served as conducting intern with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Allen has been mentored by choral conductors Bev Henson, Donald Neuen, Paul Salamunovich, Joe Flummerfelt, and Weston Noble.
Allen is married to soprano, Kristin Hightower. They are the parents of Caroline and Julianne Hightower.