NATS Art Song Composition Award new

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2024 Art Song Composition Award

Compositions may be a song cycle, group of songs, or an extended song. NATS offers cash prizes to the 1st & 2nd-place competition winners, plus a performance of the 1st-place winning work at the 58th NATS National Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 28-July 2, 2024. 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


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); solo instruments, other than piano, may be used as the collaborative/accompanying instrument with the voice, but one may not use piano and another instrument along 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, 2022)

For U.S. publications, the following is a summary of works in the public domain:
— works published before 1924
— works with a copyright notice from 1924-1964 but with no copyright renewal 
— works from 1924-1978 without a copyright
— works published without a copyright notice from 1.1.1978 through 3.1.1989 and without subsequent registration within 5 years. 



All applications for the Art Song Composition Award are submitted electronically via by 11:59pm Eastern Time on December 1.

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 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. 


(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 labeling 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 or PNG.

(5) Composer(s) bio. MS Word or PDF.

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