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Alumni Spotlight: Nicholas Hatt

Nicholas Hatt headshotGraduation Year: 


Bachelor of Music in Performance


Beaver, Pennsylvania

Why did you choose to attend WVU?

It was important for me to be in a program where there was a strong orchestral program, a teacher that was going to push my musical abilities, and a place where undergraduates were given equal opportunity in performing. West Virginia University checked off every single box for what I was looking for in an undergraduate program for music performance.

What is your profession now?

I am currently on faculty at Northwest Florida State College, as the Adjunct Professor of Violin and Viola. In addition to my teaching duties, I am a freelance orchestral musician, performing with professional orchestras in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. I serve as Assistant Concertmaster of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, where I have had the honor to lead the orchestra as Acting Concertmaster in socially distant orchestral concerts during the pandemic. I also founded the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute, where I now serve as Artist Faculty for Violin and Executive Director.

Nicholas Hatt performing

What is your most interesting current/upcoming project?

The most current project would be my work with the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute. The organization is not yet 3 years old, but those of us on my team are excitedly pushing ahead to make our Chamber Music Institute an incredible learning experience for our students, as well as a cultural gem for chamber music performances in the community of Niceville, Florida. The Midsummer Virtual Institute is our newest online program, which we have officially branded as an international festival, with faculty and Guest Artists representing Canada, United Kingdom, and United States. We are excited to see how this second program grows and develops over the coming years!

How do you feel WVU and the College of Creative Arts prepared you for your career? 

The level of education that students receive at the College of Creative Arts is second to none. There are so many reasons that I could point to that launched me down my current career path, but I will limit it to a few! My lessons with Dr. Myers were groundbreaking to my musical development. I truly look back at my time at WVU as the place where grew into my own as a violinist. Dr. Myers had a tremendous influence not only on my technical abilities but also pedagogical views, private lesson structure, and organizational abilities. Much of what I learned as an undergraduate, I now pass on to my own students. My orchestral career has been largely shaped by my experience at WVU, where I learned an invaluable amount of challenging repertoire. The orchestral repertoire that I learned at WVU sticks with me to this day, which is a huge testament to Dr. Arnold's ability to train his students. Not only was the repertoire top notch, but I felt like a valued member of the ensemble, where I was given many leadership opportunities. It is incredibly rare for an undergraduate orchestral program to possess such warmth, fairness to its students, and drive for excellence. WVU also has a fantastic chamber music culture. The students were allowed to prepare and perform ambitious chamber works, and my love for chamber music was established in this program. The graduate string quartet and faculty chamber concerts were major events to look forward to as a student. All of these experiences and coachings with faculty, especially with Professor Houde, helped to create the incredible passion I now have for chamber music.

If you could give one piece of advice to incoming or current students in WVU's College of Creative Arts, what would it be? 

Nicholas Hatt performing with the orchestra on stage

There is no better time than your undergraduate degree to get to know yourself and push the limits of what you can accomplish. Life only gets crazier and busier, and I found the work that I put into my studies at WVU is ultimately what helped me to carve a path in the field. A career in the arts can often lead you in unexpected directions, so it is important to not only refine your own craft but also be adaptable to learn new skills that can enhance what you do best.