Graduate Student Wins National Award

ericsson hatfield, sfcm, NATS, composition

Ericsson Hatfield also won the Kristin Pankonin American Art Song Award in 2020.

SFCM Composition student Ericsson Hatfield is the first place winner of the 2022 Art Song Composition Award, a prize his professor won previously.

By Mark Taylor

Congratulations are in order! Graduate student Ericsson Hatifeld was awarded the first prize in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 2022 Art Song Composition Award. This was the first time he submitted to the competition, “I decided I had nothing to lose and that I can always apply again in the future. I was very surprised when the announcement was made!” Hatfield said.

Hatfield won for his work God’s World, a setting of four songs for mezzo-soprano and piano featuring the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, God’s World, Epitaph, Feast, and Mariposa. “The poems capture a rapturous experience of nature and life, capturing the natural beauty of the earth, engaging with existential reflections about life and death, and the nature of appetite and love,” he said of his entry. The cycle was commissioned by the SFCM Pankonin Award in 2020, which selected Meghan Jolliffe (mezzo), Jeanne Hourez (piano) and Hatfield for the creation of this work.

The NATS Art Song competition is judged anonymously, relying on the strength of the music. This year's award is especially unique in that Hatfield’s composition instructor, Professor David Conte won the same competition in 2016, “I am humbled to be in the company of past winners which includes my teacher David Conte,” Hatfield said. SFCM alum Matt Boehler also won the award in 2017. 

As the winner, Hatfield will receive $2,000 and the work will be performed at the 57th NATS National Conference this summer in Chicago. Additionally, the Cincinnati Song Initiative also will program the work on a future concert.

Composer Conte was especially excited to learn his student got the top prize in a competition he won in the past, “Ericsson had never composed any songs before coming to us at SFCM,” Conte continued, “So his win is definitely an indication of his exceptional talent, and also the nurturing that we are able to give our composition students regarding the composing of art song.”

Learn more about studying composition at SFCM.