Composer Profile: Victoria Bond, Legendary American Composer & Conductor

By Gillian Reinhard

American conductor and composer Victoria Bond is one of the most popular artists of opera and classical music today.

Over a long career that has included conducting stints around the world and dozens of original compositions, Bond is also notable for her distinction as the first woman to receive a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School.

Bond was born in Los Angeles, California to a musical family. After moving to New York, she studied piano at the Mannes School of Music. Bond returned to the West Coast for her undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California, moved to New York for a Master’s and a doctorate from Juilliard.

She has been commissioned by organizations around the world, including American Ballet Theater, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Michigan Philharmonic. She is the principal guest conductor of Chamber Opera, Chicago and previously served as assistant conductor of New York City Opera, music director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and artistic director of Bel Canto Opera Company of New York, among others. She has guest conducted across the United States and the world in locations ranging from Honolulu, HI, to Richmond, VA to Beijing, China.

Additionally, Bond founded the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in 1998 to encourage compositions from contemporary composers. Her awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award, the Victor Herbert Award, the Perry F. Kendig Award, and the Miriam Gideon Prize, as well as three honorary doctorates.

Most Famous Works

According to her website, Bond has composed eight operas, six ballets, two piano concertos, and many other orchestral and choral compositions. Two of her most well-known operas depict the lives of groundbreaking women.

“Clara,” an opera about the nineteenth-century pianist and composer Clara Schumann, premiered at the 2019 Berlin Philharmonic Easter Festival.

“Mrs. President,” a chamber opera, premiered in Anchorage, Alaska in 2012. The opera depicts the life of Victoria Woodhull—today recognized by historians as the first American woman to run for president in 1872 alongside running mate Frederick Douglass. Bond also composed “The Miracle of Light,” a Hanukkah opera.


Here is “I’m told I’m a citizen” from “Mrs. President.”

And here are some highlights from “Clara.”



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