Born in Florence, Alabama in 1957 Jeff Briggs began composing at age 13 after falling in love with Beethoven and Prokofiev. He attended the Eastman School of Music (1975-79), the University of Memphis (1979-80), and the University of Illinois (1980-84), where he was awarded a doctorate in Music Composition and Theory. Briggs studied with teachers such as Samuel Adler, Donald Freund, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Joseph Schwantner. During his educational career he won an ASCAP Young Composer Award, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the Bernard and Rose Sernaffsky Composition Prize, among others.
Jeff worked as a professional freelance composer from 1984 to 1988, when he accepted a position at MicroProse Entertainment Software as designer and composer. His success at game design and development prompted promotion to Director of Product Development which he held from 1993 to 1996. At MicroProse, Briggs designed or developed over 15 games and composed the music for more than twenty. He also formed an important friendship and creative partnership with Sid Meier, the founder of MicroProse. Sid and Jeff collaborated on many successful products such as Civilization, Colonization, Civilization II. A peculiar collaboration resulted in an unusual product, “CPU Bach.” Published only for the original 3DO platform the product composed and performed original music in several forms in the style of JS Bach…
In 1996 Briggs left MicroProse to form his own game development group, Firaxis Games, named for his 1984 chamber work, FIRAXIS. Sid Meier joined the company within a few weeks and became a partner in Firaxis Games (along with Brian Reynolds). Firaxis became the exclusive developer of “Sid Meier” branded games. Under Jeff’s leadership as President and CEO, Firaxis partnered with three major video game publishers (Electronic Arts, Atari/Hasbro, and Take Two Interactive) and produced 12 products. Marketed worldwide Firaxis products have sold in excess of 15 million copies.
Briggs continued to design and develop games and compose music for many of the company’s productions until 2005. Notable examples of Briggs’ creative work at Firaxis include Alpha Centauri (executive producer, composer), Civilization III (designer, executive producer), and Civilization IV (composer).
During 2005, Briggs negotiated the merger of Firaxis Games with Take Two Interactive and took on the role of Chairman until resigning in 2006.
Jeff now works as a composer and consultant.
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