“America the Beautiful” was a song I learned as a child in school. I took it for granted in those days, not thinking about the deeper meaning of the words, nor realizing the potential embedded in that simple melody. It has taken Min Kwon’s brilliant project to get me to re-evaluate this iconic song and to explore its exquisite richness.
Victoria Bond leads a multifaceted career as composer, conductor, lecturer, and artistic director of Cutting Edge Concerts. Her compositions have been praised by The New York Times as "powerful, stylistically varied and technically demanding," and her conducting has been called “impassioned” by the Wall Street Journal and “full of energy and fervor” by the New York Times.
Bond’s opera, Clara, based on composer and pianist Clara Schumann, premiered in 2019 at the Berlin Philharmonic Easter Festival in Germany and her newest opera, The Adventures of Gulliver, was commissioned by American Opera Project through an Opera America Grant for Female Composers. Bond was recently commissioned by the Cassatt String Quartet, through a grant from Chamber Music America, to compose “Blue and Green Music,” a work based on a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, which will premiere at the Seal Bay Music Festival in Maine in 2021.
Bond’s newest CD Instruments of Revelation, on Naxos American Classics, features recent chamber music performed by members of The Chicago Symphony. Bond’s CD of concertos, Soul of a Nation: Portraits of Presidential Character, features members of the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras.
Ms. Bond has composed eight operas, six ballets, two piano concertos and numerous orchestral, chamber, choral and keyboard compositions. She has been commissioned by ensembles including the Houston and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, Cleveland and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, Michigan Philharmonic, Cassatt String Quartet, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation, American Opera Project, Young Peoples’ Chorus of New York City, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, Choral Society of the Hamptons, American Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Her compositions have been performed by the Dallas Symphony, New York City Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Anchorage Opera, Irish National Orchestra (RTE), Shanghai Symphony and members of the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony, among others.
In addition to her composing and performing activities, Ms. Bond is also passionate about sharing her knowledge of music with others. She is a frequent lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, including a four-part series on Wagner’s “Ring,” and for the MET’s HD simulcasts at Guild Hall, and regularly lectured before New York Philharmonic concerts. Ms. Bond is the recipient of the Victor Herbert Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Walter Hinrichsen Award, the Perry F. Kendig Award and the Miriam Gideon Prize. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from Hollins and Roanoke Colleges, and Washington and Lee University, and was voted Woman of the Year, Virginia in 1990 and 1991. Following her graduation from The Juilliard School, she was selected as the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony by Andre Previn.
Victoria Bond is the first woman awarded a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School where she also received her Master’s degree. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. While a conducting student at Juilliard, Ms. Bond worked with some of the most eminent names in the music field including Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, and Mstislav Rostropovich.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon