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Operatic Adaptation by Nancy Van de Vate

Composer's Biography


Born in the United States and now living permanently in Vienna, Austria, Nancy Van de Vate is known worldwide for her music in the large forms. She currently teaches music composition at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, and has also been a faculty member at eleven colleges and universities in the United States and at the Jakarta Conservatory (Yayasan Pendidikan Musik) in Indonesia.

Her full-length opera, All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Western Nichts Neues) premiered in Osnabrück, Germany in 2003 and was performed there ten times to great critical acclaim. The same work was included in May 2003 by the New York City Opera in its VOX 2003: Showcasing American Opera series, again to critical acclaim.

In January 2005 her new chamber opera, Where the Cross is Made, based on the play by Eugene O'Neill, was selected by the National Opera Association (USA) as the winner of its international biennial competition for new chamber operas. A shortened version was introduced in New York City, with a full production following in January 2006 at the 51st annual convention of the National Opera Association in Ann Arbor, MI.

Her 26 orchestral works include the well-known Chernobyl, which has been performed in Vienna, Hamburg, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and in the United States at the Chautauqua Festival and by the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra. A special performance on February 25, 2006 by the Yale Symphony Orchestra, Toshiyuki Shimada, conductor, marked the 20th anniversary of the world's most famous nuclear accident. Chernobyl has been widely broadcast worldwide since its first appearance on compact disc in 1987.

The composer has also created a large body of solo and chamber music for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Among her newest chamber works are String Quartet No. 2, commissioned by the Vienna Mozart Year 2006, and Brass Quintet No. 2: Variations on the "Streets of Laredo," commissioned by the University of Mississippi for an October 2005 festival of her music. Journeys Through the Life and Music of Nancy Van de Vate, a complete biography and extensive analysis of her music, written by Laurdella Foulkes-Levy and Burt Levy, was published in 2004 by Scarecrow Press.

A much sought-after speaker, she participated in the World Music Council meeting in Los Angeles in October 2005. Also widely respected as a juror, she has been a Nominator for the Kyoto Prize in Music since its inception twenty years ago. She serves as President and Artistic Director of the international recording company, Vienna Modern Masters, which she founded in 1990 with her late husband, Clyde Smith.

Founder of the International League of Women Composers in 1975, she steadfastly continues her advocacy of women composers with the Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera and through the inclusion of many works by women composers on the Vienna Modern Masters label.

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