NATS Art Song Composition Award


Established by action of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Board in July of 1983, with Stephen Farish appointed as the first Chair, the Art Song Composition Contest was first was held in 1984. Iowa composer Richard Hervig was the first winner with his composition Five Romantic Songs. These were premiered at the New Orleans Convention in December 1984, and were accepted for publication by Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer). The Board decided at that convention to make the competition an "on-going" event. The purposes of the competition were to (1) enlarge the body of quality literature for the solo voice, and (2) encourage composers to work more closely with singers in creating that literature.

Past Winners


Rene Orth: "Weave Me a Name" is a set of seven songs for soprano and piano featuring the poetry of Jeanne Minahan.

Coordinator: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen and Advisor: Lori Laitman


Ericsson Hatfield: “God’s World” is a set of four songs for mezzo-soprano and piano featuring the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Coordinator: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen and Advisor: Lori Laitman


Jeffrey Ryan:  “Everything Already Lost” is an art song cycle for baritone and piano featuring the poetry of Jan Zwicky.

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Kurt Erickson: “Here, Bullet (Song Set for Baritone and Piano)” based on poems written by Brian Turner during his time serving in the Iraq War.

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Philip Lasser: Elemental Earth, a cycle of songs for voice and piano on poems by Robert Frost

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Benjamin C.S. Boyle: Spirits in Bondage, based on the poetry of C.S. Lewis and arranged for Baritone and Piano

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Matt Boehler: Foursquare Cathedral, Poems by Todd Boss

My House is Small and Almost
The Wallpaper
What Yesterday Appeared a Scar
Another Hand

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


David Conte: American Death Ballads

Wicked Polly
The Uniquet Grave
The Dying Californian
Captain Kidd

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Robert Patterson: American Pierrot: A Langston Hughes Songbook 

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Melissa Dunphy: Tesla's Pigeon 

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


David Sisco: Missed Connections (Text from 

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


Thomas Cipullo: Of a Certain Age

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


David Cutler: Evenly Spaced Waves of Irony 

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen


First Place Winner - Mark Glick: The Wife of Bath

I Don't See The Problem
When A Man Goes Looking For A Woman Not Long Ago
What Do Women Want?

Second Place Winner - Louis Karchin: Four Songs

Other Finalists:

Paul Brandvik: Passeggiata 
Gregory Carroll: Day Songs, Night Songs
Alex Craig: Five Poems of Arclnbald MacLeish
Antonio DeFeo: Songs of Separation 
Howard Frazin: From Sonnet to Song
Keith Gates: When Hope Still Has a Chance
Timothy Hoekman Serenade
Kari Juusela: Four Springs and Another
Gilda LyonsThree Robes
Catherine Meiburg: Seven Shakespeare Sonnets
Joyn Pcikett: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Simon Sargon: A Star in a Haymow
Dana Wilson: Songs of Life Passing

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen; Committee: Lucinda Schulz and T. N. Retif
Judges: Judith Carman, Carol Kimball, and Marvin Keenze; Final Judge: Seymour Barab 


Mark Hijleh (b. 1963) 0 Ignis Spiritus (0 fiery Holy Spirit!) 
(English translation by the composer of text by Hildegard of Bingen)

I. 0 fiery Holy Spirit!
II. You are a holy ointment
III. 0 holy breath
IV. 0, fountain of purity!
V. 0 robe of life
VI. You guard those imprison' d by enemies
VII. 0, path of strength!
VIII. From You the clouds flow
XI. You instruct us continually
X. Praise to You

Chair: Dr. Carol Mikkelsen Judges: Sharon Mabry, John Paton, Louise Lerch; Final Composer Judge: Libby Larsen


Greg Armbruster: Selections from Ainu Dreams, a Song Cycle 

(shared award)

Brian Beaumont Hayes (b. 1920): Six English Epitaphs (1998) 

In Memory of Thomas Thetcher (Churchyard at Winchester Cathedral)
Cadman's Flight (Enscribed stone, outside wall of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Shrewsbury)
Tombstone of a Roman Soldier (First Century, in the wall of Hexham Abbey Church)
Elizabeth Poticary, Wife of Hieron Poticary, clothier, 1590
A Scottish Epitaph: John Bell of Bonekenbrig
In a Summer Churchyard of the Wylye Valley

Greg Armbruster (b. early 1950s): Selections from Ainu Dreams, a Song Cycle (1997) (text by George Quasha and Chie Hasegawa)

Telling Sky
The Huge White Bear
How I Was Animated

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Carol Kimball, William Leyerle, Gordon Myers; Final Composer Judge: Richard Hundley, NYC


Jennifer Geiring (b. 196--): To You: A Song Cycle of Mistresses 

An Offering [Chinese concubine, 14th century]
Your Eyes [Diane de Poitiers, 1539]
Death By A Thousand Cuts [Woman Today: Lyric by Beth Blatt]
Cinderella [Woman Today: Lyric by Beth Blatt]

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Melinda Aveni, Eric & Barbara Dalheim, Joyce Zastrow Final Composer Judge: Seymour Barab, NYC


Louise Beach (b. 1955): Songs of Dusk

The Flight [Sara Teasdale]
September Day (Pont de Neuilly) [Sara Teasdale] Afternoon on a Hill [Edna St. Vincent Millay]
A Dream Lies Dead Here [Dorothy Parker]
Woodsong [Sara Teasdale]
Coda [Dorothy Parker]

Chair: Jean Sloop Tom Goleeke, Dorothy Sawatski, Joanne Ottley
Final Composer Judge: Wayne Barlow, Eastman School of Music, Emeritus


Simon A. Sargon (b. 1938): Waves of the Sea: Six Irish Lyrics for Medium Voice and Piano

The Hosting of the Sidhe [William Butler Yeats]
Lullaby [Seumas O'Sullivan]
When You Are Old [William Butler Yeats]
Sweet Dancer [William Butler Yeats]
The Fiddler of Dooney [William Butler Yeats]

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Corre Berry Brusse, Daune S. Mahy, Eckhard Sellheim; Final Composer Judge: Carlisle Floyd, Houston, TX


Mark L. Weiser (b. 1968): An Anthem for a Doomed Youth for Baritone and Piano

1914, A Soldier's Dream [Wilfred Owen]
Dulce et Decorum Est [Wilfred Owen]
Futility [Wilfred Owen]

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Costanza Cuccaro, Darleen Kliewer-Britton, Allen Rogers; Final Composers Judge: Robert Ward, Durham, N.C.


Ronald Perera (b. 1941): Sleep Now for High Voice and Piano

I Hear an Army (James Joyce]
Ecce Puer (James Joyce]
She Weeps Over Rahoon (James Joyce]
The Twilight Turns from Amet)1yst (James Joyce]
Sleep Now (James Joyce]

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Elsa Charleston, Dorothy Crum, Stephen Farish; Final Composer Judge: Dr. Samuel Adler, Eastman School of Music


Loretta Jankowski (b. 1950): Phoenix for High Voice and Piano

First Try [Susan Moorehead]
Rainstorm [Susan Moorehead]
Reverie (The Phoenix) [Susan Moorehead]

Chair: Jean Sloop Judges: Mac Morgan, Sharon Mabry, Paul Sperry
Final Composer Judge: Thomas Pasatieri, North Hollywood CA


David Francis Urrows (b. 1957): Five Songs from a New England Almanack, Op. 54 for Baritone and Piano

On the Merrimack, 1865 [John Greenleaf Whittier]
Meditation [Ann Bradstreet]
October [Robert Underwood Johnson]
Aftermath [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]
The Lumberman's Alphabet [Words Traditional]

Chair: Jean Sloop (Published by Boosey & Hawkes) Judges: Robert Gartside, Margie V. Marrs, Barbara Sable
Final Composer Judge: Dominick Argento


Gardner Read (b. 1913): Nocturnal Visions, Op. 145 

Night of All Nights [Jesse Stuart]
The First Jasmines [Rabindranath Tagore]
I Hear an Army [James Joyce]

(Published by Boosey & Hawkes)

Chair: Jean Sloop  Judges: Shirlee Emmons, Stanley Sonntag, Walter Martin, George Newton; Final Composer Judge: Lee Hoiby


Richard Hervig (b. 1917): Five Romantic Songs 

So we'll go no more a-roving [Lord Byron]
0, that t'were possible [Alfred Lord Tennyson]
Lament [Percy Bysshe Shelley]
A slumber did my spirit seal [William Wordsworth, from "Lucy"]
Music when soft voices die [Percy Bysshe Shelley]

(Published by G. Schirmer)