Groundbreaking composer, Nancy Van de Vate, dies aged 92

11 August 2023
By Ellie Palmer
The Austrian-American composer was a pioneer in advancing the work of women composers in the 20th century

Composer Nancy Van de Vate has passed away at the age of 92, the American Composers Alliance has announced.

Nancy founded the International League of Women Composers (now known as the International Alliance for Women in Music) in the 1970s as part of many other women’s rights movements that were taking place to combat inequitable treatment of women in music. She remained chairperson of the League until 1982.

She then moved to Vienna in 1985 and set up a CD company, Vienna Modern Masters. She remained highly committed to advancing the cause of women composers and recorded many members of the International League of Women Composers on her label.

Nancy wrote over 100 compositions herself, many of which were recorded on Vienna Modern Masters. She composed seven operas, many orchestral works including concertos for one or more instruments, and chamber music.

Several of her works won international awards and was additionally nominated for several Pulitzer Prize awards. Her most well known pieces include the opera, All Quiet on the Western Front, and orchestral pieces Journeys and Chernobyl. Nearly all of her works were published and administered by American Composers Alliance in New York City.

Nancy was also a remarkable educator, holding teaching positions at Memphis State University, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College, Maryville College, the University of Hawaii, and the Institute for European Studies in Vienna.

Nancy Van de Vate died peacefully at her home in Vienna on 29 July. You can listen to her work Chernobyl, performed by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, below.

Content continues after advertisements