One of the world’s most recorded and honored living composers of orchestra music, Nancy Van de Vate, will be in-residence at the Eastman School of Music for the 2008 Women in Music Festival and will be present for the premiere of “A Long Road Travelled: Suite for Viola and String Quartet.”
Violist John Graham and The Ying Quartet will perform the new work during an “all-Van de Vate recital” scheduled for noon on Monday, March 24, the first day of the festival. The work, commissioned with the support of Eastman’s Hanson Institute for American Music, was written specifically for the artists.
American-born but now living in Austria, Van de Vate is known internationally for her orchestral, solo, and chamber music and is most famous for her Pulitzer Prize-nominated operas All Quiet on the Western Front and Where the Cross is Made. In 2005, Where the Cross is Made also was the winner of the National Opera Association’s biennial competition for new chamber operas. Van de Vate has composed more than 130 works in virtually all forms, earning eight Pulitzer Prize and five Grawemeyer Award nominations. Her 26 orchestral works include Chernobyl, which was nominated for a 1989 Koussevitsky International Record Award.
Van de Vate founded the International League of Women Composers in 1975 and supports the work of women composers with the Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera. She also includes many works by women composers on her Vienna Modern Masters label, an international recording company which she co-founded in 1990.
“We are very honored to have Nancy Van de Vate at this year’s event,” said Sylvie Beaudette, assistant professor of chamber music and accompanying and director of the Women in Music Festival. “Not only is she a composer who is renowned and respected around the world for her exceptional achievements and cultural contributions, but she has worked continuously to advocate for women composers and advance their work. She also has ties to Eastman, since she attended the school in the 1948-1949 academic year as a first-year piano major before transferring to Wellesley College.”
The Eastman School’s Women in Music Festival was launched in 2005 to highlight and celebrate women’s involvement in all aspects of music, including composition, performance, teaching, and scholarship. This year’s festival, scheduled for Monday, March 24, through Friday, March 28, features five noontime concerts of works written by women in a broad range of musical styles which are free and open to the public. As part of her residency, Van de Vate will conduct a master class with Eastman students on Sunday, March 23, in the Ciminelli Formal Lounge. Events also include a lecture-recital based Van de Vate’s opera All Quiet on the Western Front which will be presented on Saturday, March 22, at 1 p.m. at the Memorial Art Gallery. The recital portion will be performed by Eastman Opera Theatre members and the lecture portion will showcase the composer herself and two University of Rochester historians, Celia Applegate and Stewart Weaver.
The March 24 premiere by Graham and the Ying Quartet of Van de Vate’s new work will be held in the main hall of the Eastman School. Graham, a viola professor at Eastman, has appeared as a soloist, chamber music ensemble artist, and teacher in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Far East. The Ying Quartet, Eastman’s string quartet-in-residence, received a 2006 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album and is up for a 2008 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance.
More information about the 2008 Women in Music Festival is available online at www.esm.rochester.edu/wmf/ .
# # #