Victoria Bond

Composer Bio

(born 1945)  Subito – ASCAP

Composer and conductor Victoria Bond is a trailblazer, having been the first woman to be commissioned by major international organizations and also hold music directorships with leading performing ensembles. Her extensive catalog includes works for opera, orchestra, concert band, chamber ensemble, vocal music and choral works, instrumental music, family concert pieces, and music for dance. In each genre, Bond’s skilled musicianship serves to enrich a musical language that is beautifully crafted and deeply expressive.

Born inLos Angelesinto a family of professional musicians – her grandfather was a liturgical composer, her mother a concert pianist, and her father an operatic bass – Bond began her early training with piano pieces by Bartók, with whom her mother had studied inHungary. She began to improvise as a pre-schooler, “making up stories on the piano” and committing them to memory. While still a child, her family moved toNew Yorkwhere she entered the preparatory program at the Mannes School of Music, and studied piano with Nadia Reisenberg.

Bond later attended the Universityof Southern California, where she studied composition with Ingolf Dahl and voice with William Vennard. (As a soprano, she sang on the premiere recording of Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury.) Bond’s conducting studies began at the Aspen Music Festival, where she trained with Leonard Slatkin, and later served as assistant conductor to James Conlon.

After graduating from USC, Bond assisted film composer Paul Glass in creating film scores for Universal and Metromedia Studios. This opportunity afforded her with the rare chance — as a young composer — to regularly write for orchestra, which then led to having her scores recorded by master musicians. Based on her recording portfolio, Bond was subsequently accepted by theJuilliardSchoolto study composition with Roger Sessions. She continued her conducting studies by assisting Pierre Boulez with the Juilliard New Music Ensemble and by also working with several distinguished teachers, including Herbert von Karajan. Her perseverance paid off – in the face of skepticism from her male colleagues, Victoria Bond became Juilliard’s first woman to be awarded a doctorate in conducting. Appointed by André Previn as Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1978, Bond quickly rose to prominence as both a composer and conductor.

Bond’s stylistic influences include Bartók’s rhythmic liveliness and sense of play, and Berg, who Bond admires for his lush yet rigorously structured Romanticism. Her music is tonally based; while passages may range from richly consonant to tartly dissonant, there is always an overarching sense of harmonic motion. Above all, Bond’s writing is highly thematic, often subjecting a germinal motive to a series of gripping transformations that unfold with a sure sense of pacing. Collectively, these elements naturally stem from the dramatic impulse that is central to her music.

Bond’s many commissioners include: the Houston Symphony for whom she composed Ringing to celebrate the orchestra’s sesquicentennial season and also conducted the premiere; the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Journal; the Roanoke Symphony, where she also served as music director and for whom she wrote Thinking Like A Mountain as part of a co-commission that included the Shanghai Symphony; the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra who, along with pianist Paul Barnes, premiered the concerto Black Light (and subsequently recorded it on Koch International Records); the Audubon String Quartet, who premiered Dreams of Flying, and choreographer Margaret Beals, whose Impulses Company premiered Sandburg Suite, Bond’s Americana-inspired dance piece based on texts by noted American poet Carl Sandburg.

Bond currently serves as principal guest conductor of Chamber Opera Chicago, and is a sought-after guest lecturer on music and a conducting mentor. On the new music front, she continues as founder and curator of the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival at Symphony Space in New York City. Bond has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, profiled in The Wall Street Journal and on NBC’s Today Show, and featured in People Magazine and The New York Times. Her music recorded on Koch International Records, Albany Records, GEGA New Ltd, Protone Music, and Family Classics.