Nancy Hayes Van de Vate Smith ’52 is one of the most widely recorded contemporary composers in the world. A solo and chamber performer (piano and violin), she is probably best known as a composer of classical music in the large forms. Her compositions include over 130 works, including full orchestral pieces, operas and musical theater, choral music, and works for chamber ensembles and solo instruments.
A number of her compositions are embedded with political or social themes, including "Chernobyl," "Voices of Women," and "Katyn." Nominated for the 1989 Koussevitsky International Recording Awards for "Chernobyl," Van de Vate (her professional name) has also received commissions and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Austrian Ministry for Education, Research and the Arts, and the American Association of University Women, among others.
Van de Vate has been involved in many organizations promoting women's and human rights and women in music. In 1975, she founded the International League of Women Composers, which has since merged with two other women-in-music organizations. In 1990, Van de Vate co-founded Vienna Modern Masters, a nonprofit contemporary recording company, which now boasts a catalog of almost 100 CDs. In 1994, she was granted dual citizenship by the Austrian government for her exceptional achievements, and in 1999 was awarded the Faculty Citation for Graduate Alumni for Distinguished Achievement from Florida State University.
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