NATS Art Song Composition Award

Advancing Quality Vocal Literature by Promoting New Works for Singers

art_song_logo_2020.jpgNATS offers a cash award, plus a performance of the winning composition at a NATS Conference, to the composer of the winning song cycle, group of songs, or extended single song. This annual competition is open to any composer whose submitted work meets the prescribed requirements, and who pays the competition entry fee. 


"The purpose of the Art Song Composition Award [formerly the Vocal Composition Award] program... is to stimulate the creation of quality vocal literature through the cooperation of singer and composer."
—Carol Mikkelsen, NATS Art Song Composition Award Coordinator

Philip Lasser named first place winner of 2019 NATS Art Song Composition Award
Announcing the winners and finalists of the 2019 Art Song Composition Award

 

Lori_Laitman_-_David_Conte_-_web_crop.jpgPictured at the NATS 2016 National Conference are
Lori Laitman, Art Song Composition Award benefactor,
and David Conte, winner of the 2016 Art Song Composition Award.

 

2020 Art Song Composition Award Online Application

Printable flyer 

View and listen to performances of recent Art Song Composition Award winning works.

A New Partnership

cincinnati_song_initiative_logo_001.pngNATS has teamed up with Cincinnati Song Initiative (CSI) to provide a new and exciting opportunity for composers. Following each annual NATS Art Song Composition Award, composers will have their winning selection programmed on a future CSI concert. This provides an invaluable repeat performance for composers’ work and introduces them to enthusiastic Cincinnati audiences. Through this partnership, NATS is expanding the impact of its Art Song Composition Award and helping CSI solidify its role as a national leader for innovating the art song genre.

REQUIREMENTS

The work must be:

  1. a song cycle, group of songs, or extended song approximately 20’ in length--
    13’ to 25’ acceptable. (Genres other than the classical “art song” are discouraged.)
  2. for single voice and single instrument (neither synthesized)
    NEW: solo instruments in addition to the piano, may be used as the collaborative/accompanying instrument with the voice. The genre and style remains that of the art song.
  3. to a text written in English, for which the composer has secured copyright
    clearance--only text setting permission necessary. (If the poem is not in the
    public domain, the composer must be able to show proof that the proper
    rights from the appropriate person in control of the copyright—either the
    poet, the poet’s estate or the publisher—have been secured.)
  4. composed within the past two years (after January 1, 2018).

For U.S. publications, the following is a summary of works in the public domain:
— works published before 1923
— works with a copyright notice from 1923-1963 but with no copyright renewal
— works from 1923-1977 without a copyright
— works published without a copyright notice from 1.1.1978 through 3.1.1989 and without subsequent registration within 5 years.

https://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/public-domain-faq.html 

AWARDS

Cash prizes generously sponsored by American composer Lori Laitman:

  • 1st place - $2,000 plus the composer's expenses ($500 airfare reimbursement plus hotel) to the 56th NATS National Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 26-30, 2020, where the premiere performance of the winning composition will be given. The winning composition will also be performed on a future concert presented by Cincinnati Song Initiative.
  • 2nd place - $1,000

ENTRY FEE

Each entry is $30 for professionals; $15 for full-time students (payable in U.S. funds to NATS).

ELIGIBILITY

The Art Song Composition Award is open to anyone meeting the prescribed requirements.

ENTRY DEADLINE

Applications open in June 2019 and end December 1, 2019. 

PROCEDURE

All applications for the Art Song Composition Award are submitted electronically via NATS.org.

IMPORTANT: All Scores, Cover Pages, and any supporting text files must be submitted in PDF format (Microsoft Word or other word processing file formats are not acceptable). All photos/headshots must be submitted in JPEG format. All Audio Files must be submitted in MP3 format (other formats such as .m4a, .wav, etc. are not acceptable.) Failure to follow these guidelines may result in disqualification. If audio files are too large (MAX file size is 12.4 MB), you will need to save them at a smaller bit-rate.

The following are required material for entry:

(1) A Cover Sheet (PDF format) containing the following information:

  1. Length (of each individual song and/or the complete cycle)
  2. Date of Composition (the actual Date(s) of composition for each piece; Copyright date does not suffice for date of composition)
  3. Permission Statement (sighting legal permission to set text; such as “in the Public domain”, “Permissions granted by the entity having Copyright Control – poet/publisher”, or “Lyrics written by composer”)
  4. (Click Here for an Example)

(2) A PDF copy of the song score(s). Copies must be neat, legible, and clearly edited, and should include:

  1. composition title;
  2. poet’s name;
  3. public domain status or person or agency granting text setting permission; and
  4. length and date of composition. 

THE COMPOSER’S NAME MUST NOT APPEAR ANYWHERE ON THE SCORE or THE AUDIO FILES.

(3) Digital audio file(s) of composition(s).

Recordings may be performance or working quality, but must be with live voice and accompanying instrument (neither synthesized). Title(s) of composition(s) should be the only labelling on recordings. (Upload time may take a few minutes depending on file size). Maximum file size is 12.4 MB. If your recording is larger than 12.4 MB, please break it up into no more than four movements and upload these as separate files. (If audio files are too large, you will need to save them at a smaller bit-rate.)  The song order, if multiple songs, on the recording(s) and score(s) must be the same, and must be edited so that the recording(s) reveal(s) accurately what is in the score(s).

(4) Headshot of the composer(s); JPEG format preferred.

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Carol Mikkelsen at .

 Recent Art Song Composition Winners

2019 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

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

Click here to listen to recordings of Philip Lasser’s “Elemental Earth” and second prize winner Zachary Wadsworth’s “Parlo(u)r Songs” on SoundCloud.

2018 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

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

Click HERE, or below, to watch the performance video (cued to 16:25).

Art_song_winner_concert_-_screen_shot_-_Boyle.JPG

Click here to listen to audio tracks of all of the 2018 Winners and Finalists on SoundCloud.

2017 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

Matt Boehler for Foursquare Cathedral (Read More)
Poems by Todd Boss

  1. Ruin
  2. My House is Small and Almost
  3. The Wallpaper
  4. What Yesterday Appeared a Scar
  5. Another Hand

Click HERE, or below, to watch the performance video.

Art_song_winner_concert_-_screen_shot.JPG

Click here to listen to audio tracks of all of the 2017 Winners and Finalists on SoundCloud.

 

2016 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

David Conte for American Death Ballads  

  1. Wicked Polly
  2. The Uniquet Grave
  3. The Dying Californian
  4. Captain Kidd


Click HERE, or below, to watch the performance video. Click HERE to read the program note.

2014 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

Robert Patterson for American Pierrot: A Langston Hughes Songbook

Performed July 7, 2014 at the National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference in Boston. Sung by Robert Wells, Allen Henderson and Tod Fitzpatrick, with collaborative pianist Michelle Beaton.

2012 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

Melissa Dunphy for Tesla's Pigeon

A performance of the winning piece of the 2012 NATS Art Song Composition Award, "Tesla's Pigeon" by Melissa Dunphy, performed by Collen Gray, soprano, and Nanette Solomon, piano. View the text on the official Tesla's Pigeon website.

2010 Art Song Composition Award Winner:

David Sisco for Missed Connections (Text from Craigslist.com)

Please enjoy the performance of the winning composition of the 2010 Art Song Composition Award, with an introduction of the winning composer, David Sisco, by Carol Mikkelson. Missed Connections is performed by Elizabeth Mondragon and accompanied by Dr. Andrew Adams. You may view this video at http://youtu.be/loyND9gzvG0.

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