Swerts was commissioned by saxophonist Dan Goble and pianist Russell Hirshfield to write Hat City Sonata in 2013. Goble is the Director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Colorado State University and Hirshfield is Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University. The pair commissioned Swerts when they were both serving on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut.
The town of Danbury, Connecticut has a rich history of hatmaking, or millinery, and it has been home to some of the earliest hat shops in the United States. Some of the hat shops in Danbury date back to the American Revolution.In 1904, Danbury was producing nearly a quarter of the hats in the American market, and the town earned the moniker “Hat City”. Swerts’ Hat City Sonata is approximately 16 minutes in length and is in three movements: I. Avowal and Scud, II. Night Song, and III. Free fall.