Obituary: Composer Nancy Van de Vate Passes Away at 92

By Afton Wooten

American-born Austrian composer Nancy Van de Vate passed away July 29, 2023 at her home in Austria.

Van de Vate, who also used the pseudonyms Helen Huntley and William Huntley, composed seven operas including “All Quiet on the Western Front” and several choral and orchestral pieces.

She studied piano at Eastman School of Music, music theory at Wellesley College, and completed graduate degrees in music composition at the University of Mississippi and Florida State University, where she also earned a Ph.D. Later, she studied electronic music at Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire.

Her work in higher education did not stop there as she taught at Memphis State University, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College, Maryville College, the University of Hawaii, and at the Hawaii Loa College.

In 1975, Van de Vate founded the League of Women Composers which was renamed the International League of Women Composers in 1979, before it merged with the International Alliance for Women in Music in 1995. Van de Vate established a chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and directing the Southeastern Composers League in Tennessee.

In 2005, she participated in the World Music Council meeting in Los Angeles and served as a nominator for the Kyoto Prize in Music. Her biography, “Journeys Through the Life and Music of Nancy Van de Vate,” was published in 2004.

She is survived by her three children and six grandchildren.