August 14, 2017
Victoria Bond is Soli Deo Gloria Foundation composer of the month


If you were creating a list of the “10 Women Who Light Up the Arts Scene,” who are the women you would include? In May of 2017, Good Housekeeping didn’t hesitate to name VICTORIA BOND as one of the ten. Celebrated as a composer, conductor, and producer of the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in New York, Ms. Bond is a woman of firsts.

She was not only the first woman to be awarded a doctorate from Juilliard’s orchestral conducting program, but she was also the first woman to be placed, upon graduating from Juilliard, with a major orchestra in the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor Program, where she spent two years with the Pittsburgh Symphony.


Victoria Bond’s willingness to take the first steps into uncharted territory stems from generations of strong, determined women in her family. On a WQXR Blog entitled “A Thousand More Will Rise: Victoria Bond Finds Inspiration in Women Past and Present,” Ms. Bond talks about the women who preceded her:

"I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother was born in Israel before it was Israel, when it was still under the Turks, and she lived in a tent. And I always think of her as the first pioneer in my family. And my mother was also a very pioneering woman, in that she was a concert pianist—actually, a child prodigy who won the International Liszt Competition when she was sixteen and traveled all over Europe as a teenager, performing as a soloist. That spirit of ‘you can do anything’ was very strong in the maternal side of my family.

“When I first started conducting, there were so many nay-sayers, saying, ‘A woman hasn’t done this, therefore, a woman can’t do this.’ As a composer, I remember hearing over and over, ‘Well, women haven’t mastered the larger forms.’

“I was very encouraged by my family to believe that I could do these things despite what people around me were saying. I hope that who I am and my work will act as an inspiration to other young women who come after me as a reinforcement that they can do what they believe they’ve been set out to do.”


Over the course of her career, Victoria Bond has become a major force in 21st-century music as both a conductor and a composer, with awards and commissions from leading arts organizations around the world. Her conducting has been called “impassioned” by the Wall Street Journal and “full of energy and fervor” by The New York Times. Her compositions have been praised by The New York Times as "powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding."

As a conductor, Bond has served as Music Director of the New Amsterdam and Roanoke Symphonies, Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke and Harrisburg Opera, Music Adviser to Wuhan Symphony in China; and is Principal Guest Conductor of Chamber Opera Chicago. She has guest conducted the Dallas, Houston, Shanghai, Honolulu, Buffalo, Richmond, Louisville, Albany, and Anchorage symphonies; the Festival of Contemporary Music in Santos, Brazil; and Beijing Central Opera. She has also conducted concerts for Ray Charles, leading his 70th birthday concert in Poland. She has worked with Herbert von Karajan, Andre Previn, Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sixten Ehrling, Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon, and Herbert Blomstedt.

In more recent years, however, she has moved away from full-time conducting to make more time for composition. In a wonderfully circuitous fashion, she transitioned from her early love of composition, to studying piano, to performing as a singer, to being a conductor, and back to being a full-time composer.

"Composition was always my first love. My parents, both performers, said you can’t just be a composer; you have to have a performing instrument. So I started with piano because my mother was a pianist (she had studied with Bartok). Actually, I learned “in utero”! But I knew I wasn’t going to be a pianist.

“Both my grandmother and my father had been singers (my father was a soloist with the New York City Opera), so moving to singing was a natural. My role model was Samuel Barber because he was both a composer and singer. My first professional performance work was as a singer: I was a soloist in an opera by Harry Partch, recorded by Columbia Masterworks. I performed a lot as a singer, often singing music that I wrote for myself.

“One summer I was going to Aspen Colorado to the Music Festival to study, and it happened that my mother was a friend of the Slatkins. The older Slatkin brother said, “If you’re a singer, you’re going to be singing opera, and you should know something about what conductors do. I’m going to be teaching this summer, and I think you should be studying with me.” That brother was Leonard Slatkin. And that was the beginning of my conducting career.

“I was so fascinated with conducting that I decided to pursue it. I applied to Juilliard, where I was hoping for a double major, and was accepted in the composition department. But when I found out I could have only one major, I had to reapply the next year for conducting.

“Originally, conducting was going to be a tool I could use to conduct my own compositions, but then my conducting career took off. It wasn’t until 1995 that I seriously asked myself, Am I going to continue on this route, where I might have only a month or two a year to devote to composition?' I knew I wanted to spend the majority of my time writing, so I made a major shift. I left my position with the Roanoke Symphony and moved back to New York.”

Bond’s recommitment to composing has garnered her commissions from such esteemed groups as the American Ballet Theater, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, Cleveland and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, Women’s Philharmonic, SDG Music Foundation, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her compositions have been performed by members of the New York Philharmonic, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, New York City Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Anchorage Opera, Irish National Orchestra (RTE), among others. She is the recipient of the Victor Herbert Award and has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

As if all this were not enough, when she is not conducting or composing, Bond is also a lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera and teaches a course at Lincoln Center. In addition, she teaches at Nyack College in Manhattan.


To cap it off, in the spirit of a true musical entrepreneur, Ms. Bond has founded the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in New York. During her early years assisting Pierre Boulez with the Juilliard New Music Ensemble, she had been impressed by the public discussions with composers that Boulez included when performing their works. Her vision as Artistic Director of Cutting Edge is to continue the discussion, inviting composers not only to perform their new music, but also to share their musical ideas so audiences can have a new appreciation for the music they are hearing.

Is it any wonder that Victoria Bond has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on NBC’s Today Show and featured in People magazine and in The New York Times?


Given Bond’s impressive achievements, you might understand why it is such a privilege for SDG Music Foundation to include Ms. Bond as one of its commissioned composers. When asked to write a choral work for SDG’s Psalms Project, she created an expressive piece titled "How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place" (Psalm 84). The work was premiered in New York City in November 2014 in an unprecedented interfaith event featuring the combined choirs of Temple Emanu-El and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Bond’s choral work will also be featured on SDG’s forthcoming Psallite II CD.

As Bond puts it, this music “expresses the profound appreciation I feel for the natural world and the exaltation that sweeps over me during walks when I contemplate the beauty of our planet.” This view is synchronous with the perspective Bond has about her entire work as a composer:

"I like to focus on that which affirms life, affirms an appreciation for the Divine. A very important part of my work is bringing people to a sense of awe and gratitude. Music has the power to uplift the spirit, and that is what I continuously seek.”

SDG Music Foundation is an international foundation dedicated to:

• preserving the sacred masterpieces of the past
• promoting classical sacred concerts around the world
• creating classical sacred music for future generations

SDG was formed in 1993 as a nonprofit foundation devoted to the preservation, performance, and promotion of classical sacred music inspired by the Bible in both the Christian and Jewish traditions. At the heart of its mission is the commissioning of new classical sacred music from the world’s leading composers. In addition, the organization sponsors sacred music concerts and recordings around the world. In each of these areas, SDG has gained recognition as a distinctive advocate for classical sacred music.

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