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Nancy Van de Vate
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Nancy Van de Vate was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and now lives in Vienna, Austria. She attended the Eastman School of Music as a scholarship student and completed her undergraduate education at Wellesley College with a BA in Music in 1952. She received the Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Mississippi in 1958, and the Doctor of Music degree in Composition from Florida State University in 1968. She did post-doctoral work in electronic music at Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire in the summer of 1972.
She has composed over 115 works in virtually all forms, from a composition for solo instrument based on only one note to grand opera. In 1994 she was granted dual citizenship by the Austrian government — permitted only in cases of exceptional artistic achievement — because of her excellence as a composer and her musical contributions to the Republic of Austria.
For many years, while actively composing, her musical activities included teaching at nine universities in the southern United States and Hawaii, performing as violist in symphony orchestras and as a solo and chamber pianist, and serving as activist president of two composers’ organizations -- most notably the International League of Women Composers, which she founded in 1975 and chaired for seven years. She has contributed articles to Musical America, The International Musician, The Instrumtalist, Symphony News, and numerous other professional periodicals in the United States, Austria, Indonesia, and other countries. She is often interviewed for radio broadcast and for music journal and newspaper articles.
Her music has appeared frequently on major international music festivals including the Winter Music Nights in Bulgaria (1996), Japan Society for Contemporary Music (1991), Ultima 92 in Norway (1992), Aspekte in Salzburg (1989 and 1990), Musica Viva in Munich (1989), Poznan Spring in Poland (1984), Vienna Music Summer (1992), Wratislavia Cantans in Wroclaw, Poland (1990), and Soro Music Festival in Denmark (1994), among others.
She gives frequent guest lectures about her music in German and English in Austria, Germany, Poland, and the United States. She previously lectured in Indonesian on her music in Jakarta, where she lived for four years. Her music has been heard in at least thirty-two countries on five continents, and is especially widely heard on radio broadcasts.
The major thrust of her compositional activities is now opera and musical theater. Her children’s musical, Der Herrscher und das Mädchen, was premiered in Vienna on June 20, 1995. Her 45-minute English-language opera, In the Shadow of the Glen after the John Millington Synge play, was completed in 1994. Her German-language grand opera Nemo: Jenseits von Vulkania was completed in the fall of 1995 and is seeking its premiere, videotaping, and digital recording for CDs. Her grand opera, in English, later in German, All Quiet on tbe Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues) after the Erich Maria Remarque anti-war novel, will be completed in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Her English-language chamber opera The Death of the Hired Man, after the Robert Frost poem, will be completed in 1998. Her English-language musical theater works, Cocaine Lil, after the anonymous American folk poem. and A Night in the Royal Ontario Museum, after the Margaret Atwood poem, have continued to see many performances in Europe and America. Cocaine Lil, is recorded on compact disc by "belcanto ensemble" of Germany on Koch-Schwann.
Van de Vate is one of the most recorded composers of orchestral music in the world, with some 20 works to date; her discography also includes many recordings of chamber and solo works. Her entries in the Schwann Opus and Bielefelder catalogs identify her as the most-recorded woman composer in the world. Chernobyl was nominated for the 1989 Koussevitsky International Recording Award for the best new work by a living composer in its first recording; her 1987 compact disc of orchestral music was nominated for the 1988 Ovation Classical Music Award for the best new recording in the orchestral category.
In 1989 and 1993 Van de Vate was a nominator for the quadrennial Kyoto Prize in Music, at 50,000,000 yen the world’s largest music award. She is again a nominator for the 1997 Kyoto Prize in Music. Her orchestral music has gained numerous Pulitzer and Grawemeyer nominations.
She has received commissions and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, the American Association of University Women, Meet the Composer, the Money for Women Fund, the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the City of Vienna, and others. She has been a Resident Fellow at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Ossabaw Island in the US, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig (Ireland), the Brahmshaus (Baden-Baden, Germany), and the Künstlerhaus Boswil (Switzerland).
In six years after issuing its first CD, Vienna Modern Masters, a nonprofit record company producing CDs of contemporary music, has achieved under her artistic leadership a catalog of 59 CDs, with 10-12 new additions annualy. 37 CDs contain only orchestral and orchestral-choral music. As VMM’s Vice-President and Artistic Director, she has directly supervised the recording in Eastern Europe, with various orchestras and conductors, of more than 100 orchestral and orchestral-choral work. She has edited all 59 of the VMM CD booklets to date, often also writing introductions and program notes for composers’ biographies and their works.
She administers VMM’s Orchestral Recording Award competition, now in its sixth year, and VMM’s Annual Performers’ Recording Award competition, now in its third year.
(Biography prepared by Clyde Smith, President, Vienna Masterworks (BMI), major publisher of the music of Nancy Van de Vate.)