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Instruments of Revelation performed by the American Modern Ensemble, Victoria Bond conductor.
SUBCULTURE April 2015
Victoria Woodhull announces her intention to run for president. Citing discrimination against women and intolerable restrictions, she demands equal rights as a citizen and the freedom to dissolve loveless relationships. She claims to be the chosen leader and future president.

Victoria Woodhull... Valerie Bernhardt, Soprono

Anchorage Opera
October 5th 2012

Conductor... Victoria Bond
Molly Bloom's soliloquy from James Joyce's "Ulysses" set to music by Victoria Bond.
Do women face challenges in the conducting and composing worlds? What are they? Here, trailblazing composer and conductor Victoria Bond discusses those challenges and her view of what the future might hold.

Bond has a masters and doctorate from the Juilliard School, where she was the only female in the conducting program, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. She has taught at Juilliard, The Conductor’s Institute, New York University and in the spring will design and teach online courses for Nyack College. She has honorary doctorates from Hollins and Roanoke Colleges, and Washington and Lee University. She was voted Woman of the Year, Virginia in 1990 and 1991.

A major force in 21st century concert music, Victoria Bond leads a dual career as composer and conductor. 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 has been commissioned by The American Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Houston and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, Cleveland and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, Women’s Philharmonic, Soli Deo Gloria, The Young Peoples’ Chorus, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, Choral Society of the Hamptons and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 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, among others.

As a conductor, Ms. Bond has guest conducted the Honolulu, Buffalo, Richmond, Louisville, Albany, Anchorage, Dallas and Houston symphony orchestras; Cleveland and St. Paul chamber symphonies; Opera Carolina; Festival of Contemporary Music in Santos, Brazil; Radio Telefis Eirann in Dublin, Ireland; Center for Contemporary Opera in New York; and the Shanghai, Hunan, and Wuhan symphony orchestras and Beijing Central Opera in China.

Learn more about Victoria:
http://victoriabond.com/index.php

For more Noted Endeavors videos, go to:
http://notedendeavors.com
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments.
II. Marine Mosaic is scored for the piano and strings and depicts fish and other sea creatures gracefully swimming.
PULSE Chamber Music performs an excerpt from "Bridges" by Victoria Bond arranged for clarinet, violin and piano.
When John Yeh and Fontana Chamber Arts commissioned me to write a quartet involving two clarinets and two Chinese instruments, the Erhu and the Pipa, the title Bridges seemed like a logical choice, bridging the music of the East and the West. Having traveled and performed extensively in China, I was not only drawn to its music, but had fallen in love with its fascinating instruments. Beyond some superficial differences, the folk music of both countries sounds surprisingly familiar, and even the instruments have striking similarities.

Working with folk songs from my own background as well as Chinese songs that I had learned, I decided to organize the piece around four actual bridges, covering a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. The first movement, Railroad Trestle Bridge in Galax, Virginia, uses the motoric rhythm of a train and the sound of a fiddle and banjo playing country music.
A jail cell, where VICTORIA, worn and haggard, sits alone with a letter from her closest friend Isabella, explaining that under pressure from her brother, she has abandoned Victoria.At first crushed by this final blow, Victoria realizes that although she, herself will never realize her dreams, others will come after her, pick up her ideas and carry them forward. As she sings, the jail dissolves, and from the darkness emerge ghostly Victorias, one after the other until there are dozens of them, each with a white rose at her throat, marching forward. They sing softly, building in volume as they approach. In this concert performance, prominent women politicians stand on stage, visible proof of truth of these words.
Cast:
Victoria Woodhull, Valerie Bernhardt,
Isabella Beecher, Katrina Thurman
Elizabeth Tilton, Rebecca Cloudy
Roxie Claffin, Joy Hermalyn
Henry Ward Beecher, Scott Ramsay
Joseph Treat, Kirk Dougherty
Col. James Blood, Robert Osborne
Anchorage Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Victoria Bond, conductor
Henry Ward Beecher barges into the office of Victoria Woodhull=s newspaper, AWoodhull’s Weekly. He demands to speak with Victoria and the two are left alone. The more he tries to bully her into submission, the more she teases him. In a rage, he threatens to strike her dead, but she calmly informs him that she is aware of his sexual liaisons and has the story ready to print. His anger turns to panic as he sees the possibility of his career crumbling in such a scandal. He begs for mercy, but she tells him that far from condemning his activity, she agrees with his passionate nature and suggests that he support her platform of free love. Stunned by this endorsement of what he has most feared, he agrees to reveal himself for the hedonist that he is and to support her campaign. They abandon themselves to their passion and as they remove their clothing, Joseph Treat, a young man in love with Victoria bursts in with a bouquet of roses for her. He freezes. Victoria and Henry are oblivious. Treat hurls the roses to the floor and slams the door.
Composed by Victoria Bond & featuring the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nan Washburn.
Bridges for orchestra was commissioned by Nan Washburn and the Michigan Philharmonic. The five movements are inspired by actual bridges in different parts of the world. Using folk songs, I decided to organize the piece around a wide variety of cultures. Railroad Trestle Bridge in Galax, Virginia uses the motoric rhythm of a train and the sound of a fiddle and banjo playing country music. Stone Bridge over a Reflecting Pool in Suzhou is based on a traditional Chinese song called Moli Hua or Jasmine Flower. The Golden Gate Bridge recalls the folk music revival of the 1960's and 70's in California, with particular respect paid to the singer Joan Baez, whose haunting songs had a profound effect on me. I have combined her song “All My Trials” with a Chinese folksong called “Liu Yang River” as both reflect the culture of the Bay Area. The Brooklyn Bridge has a particularly happy coincidence. I wanted this bridge to partake of the vibrant be-bop era in New York City. In researching be-bop melodies, I came across a standard favored by many jazz musicians, “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin. Using only the harmonic chord changes to this tune, players crafted seemingly endless improvisations. As the song was written in the typical AABA song form, the “B” section was referred to as the “bridge”. Here was the ideal confluence of the many meanings of the word “bridge”, and I leaped at the opportunity to bring them all together. The fifth movement is The Mackinac Bridge, based on the folksong “The Water is Wide” because the bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and spans a wide expanse of water over the straits of Mackinac, connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
Three men emerge from the crowd (which, with the CHILD, retreats into the background). VICTORIA watches as, each in his separate world, the men sing:

Henry Ward Beecher... Scott Ramsay, Tenor
Joseph Treat... Kirk Dougherty, Tenor
Col. James Blood... Robert Osborne, Baritone

Anchorage Opera
October 5th 2012

Conductor, Victoria Bond
Inevitably, and despite perfect planning and rehearsal, things go wrong. What do you do? Composer / conductor Victoria Bond discusses handing problems with composure and a steady hand.

A major force in 21st century concert music, Victoria Bond leads a dual career as composer and conductor. 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 has been commissioned by The American Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Houston and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, Cleveland and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, Women’s Philharmonic, Soli Deo Gloria, The Young Peoples’ Chorus, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, Choral Society of the Hamptons and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 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, among others.

As a conductor, Ms. Bond has guest conducted the Honolulu, Buffalo, Richmond, Louisville, Albany, Anchorage, Dallas and Houston symphony orchestras; Cleveland and St. Paul chamber symphonies; Opera Carolina; Festival of Contemporary Music in Santos, Brazil; Radio Telefis Eirann in Dublin, Ireland; Center for Contemporary Opera in New York; and the Shanghai, Hunan, and Wuhan symphony orchestras and Beijing Central Opera in China.

Learn more about Victoria:
http://victoriabond.com/index.php

For more Noted Endeavors videos, go to:
http://notedendeavors.com
Dewdrop
We meet Henry giving a sermon, during which he 'auctions' the freedom of a slave. Beecher is famous for his abolitionist stance. He is a charismatic speaker and an influential public figure. His beloved sister Isabella happens to be Victoria Woodhull's strongest supporter.
Cast:
Victoria Woodhull... Valerie Bernhardt, Soprono
Isabella Beecher... Katrina Thurman, Soprono
Elizabeth Tilton... Rebecca Cloudy, Soprono
Roxie Claffin... Joy Hermalyn, Mezzo-Soprono
Henry Ward Beecher... Scott Ramsay, Tenor
Joseph Treat... Kirk Dougherty, Tenor
Col. James Blood... Robert Osborne, Baritone

Anchorage Opera
October 5th 2012

Conductor, Victoria Bond's strongest supporter.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. I. Street Musicians is scored for the full ensemble and describes a raucous band wandering through the streets, dancing and playing the tarantella on tambourine, finger cymbals and flute.
1846. Homer, Ohio. Carnival crowd jostling and yelling, congregating around a homemade banner announcing ‘See Psychic Child Victoria! Only 10 cents!’

Victoria’s mother, ROXIE, bangs on a drum mustering an audience. Throughout the song, people run on from all directions.


Cast:
Victoria Woodhull... Valerie Bernhardt, Soprono
Isabella Beecher... Katrina Thurman, Soprono
Elizabeth Tilton... Rebecca Cloudy, Soprono
Roxie Claffin... Joy Hermalyn, Mezzo-Soprono
Henry Ward Beecher... Scott Ramsay, Tenor
Joseph Treat... Kirk Dougherty, Tenor
Col. James Blood... Robert Osborne, Baritone

Anchorage Opera
October 5th 2012

Conductor... Victoria Bond
Joseph Treat, a former lover of Victoria Woodhull, jealous of her relationship with Henry Ward Beecher, writes a letter to the editor of the NY Times saying that she is a dangerous woman who has the potential to wreck family life.
Joseph Treat, tenor Kirk Gougherty
Henry Ward Beecher, alone in his study, realizes the consequences of supporting Victoria Woodhull's campaign. He turns against her, vowing to stop her. Col. James Blood enters Beecher's chamber requesting that he introduce Woodhull at her Steinway Hall speech. Beecher declines, saying that he has changed his mind and is not supporting her.

Henry Ward Beecher, tenor Scott Ramsay
Col. James Blood, baritone Robert Osborne
Victoria Woodhull prepares to deliver a speech at Steinway Hall announcing her candidacy for President. She nervously waits backstage for Henry Ward Beecher to introduce her. Isabella and Roxie try to calm her down. Outside the crowd is impatient.
Cast:
Victoria Woodhull... Valerie Bernhardt, Soprono
Isabella Beecher... Katrina Thurman, Soprono
Elizabeth Tilton... Rebecca Cloudy, Soprono
Roxie Claffin... Joy Hermalyn, Mezzo-Soprono
Henry Ward Beecher... Scott Ramsay, Tenor
Joseph Treat... Kirk Dougherty, Tenor
Col. James Blood... Robert Osborne, Baritone
In the ransacked office of Woodhull's Weekly, Victoria sleeps in her husband's arms. He sings of his shattered dreams of a peaceful life together. As she wakes, she can think only of her own aborted dreams. In his study, Henry and Isabella are arguing over Victoria. Isabella claims that Henry is murdering a saint but he calls her as a fiend from Hell. The four join together, each locked within his own disappointment and accusation that the other is trying to destroy his love. Finally, Henry threatens to commit Isabella to a deviates asylum for her unnatural affection for Victoria if she does not abandon her friend.
Scenes from Act I of "Clara" an opera about Clara Schumann with music by Victoria Bond and libretto by Barbara Zinn Krieger, published by Theodore Presser. Martina Arroyo introduces the scenes and directs them.
Clara is practicing and Robert sneaks up playfully, and teases her, saying that she is too serious. He plays his composition Papillons for her, and when she begs to play it herself, Robert insists she try to imagine the scene the composition suggests before attempting to play it. After struggling, she does so successfully, and he gives her the music of Papillons to play. Wieck enters and listening to Clara play the new composition, is intrigued, but insists that she and Robert return to their technical exercises.
Music: Victoria Bond, Libretto: Barbara Zinn Kreiger, director: Martina Arroyo
Robert Schumann shows Clara his new composition "Papillons" and lets her read it at the piano. Clara's father enters and is intrigued with the new composition, but lectures Clara and Robert to return to the scales and arpeggios he has taught them. After he leaves, the two promise each other to bring Robert's work to the public.
Music: Victoria Bond;
Libretto: Barbara Zinn
Krieger

Workshop production
Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival
April 27, 2015
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, NYC
Clara: soprano Meredith Meecum
Robert Schumann: baritone Benjamin Bloomfield
Friedrich Wieck, bass-baritone Robert Osborne

Synopsis
Robert Schumann shows Clara his new composition "Papillons" and lets her read it at the piano. Clara's father enters and is intrigued with the new composition, but lectures Clara and Robert to return to the scales and arpeggios he has taught them. After he leaves, the two promise each other to bring Robert's work to the public.
Young Johannes Brahms arrives at the Schumann house to play his compositions for Robert. He is apprehensive, having previously sent a score to Robert which was returned unopened.Clara
Music: Victoria Bond;
Libretto: Barbara Zinn Krieger
Workshop production
Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival
April 27, 2015
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, NYC
Johannes Brahms:tenor Paul Han
Brahms and Clara are playing a four-hand duet by Robert. Although the music is calm on the surface, underneath each one voices turbulent inner thoughts, questioning whether they are more than friends. Robert enters and seeing them together is comforted by their friendship, convinced that they are both devoted only to him.
Music: Victoria Bond;
Libretto: Barbara Zinn
Krieger

Workshop production
Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival
April 27, 2015
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, NYC
Clara: soprano Meredith Meecum
Robert Schumann: baritone Benjamin Bloomfield
Johannes Brahms, tenor Paul Han
Eugenia Zuckerman interviews Victoria Bond on Noted Endeavors
When John Yeh and Fontana Chamber Arts commissioned me to write a quartet involving two clarinets and two Chinese instruments, the Erhu and the Pipa, the title Bridges seemed like a logical choice, bridging the music of the East and the West. Having traveled and performed extensively in China, I was not only drawn to its music, but had fallen in love with its fascinating instruments. Beyond some superficial differences, the folk music of both countries sounds surprisingly familiar, and even the instruments have striking similarities.

Working with folk songs from my own background as well as Chinese songs that I had learned, I decided to organize the piece around four actual bridges, covering a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. The first movement, Railroad Trestle Bridge in Galax, Virginia, uses the motoric rhythm of a train and the sound of a fiddle and banjo playing country music.
When John Yeh and Fontana Chamber Arts commissioned me to write a quartet involving two clarinets and two Chinese instruments, the Erhu and the Pipa, the title Bridges seemed like a logical choice, bridging the music of the East and the West. Having traveled and performed extensively in China, I was not only drawn to its music, but had fallen in love with its fascinating instruments. Beyond some superficial differences, the folk music of both countries sounds surprisingly familiar, and even the instruments have striking similarities.

Working with folk songs from my own background as well as Chinese songs that I had learned, I decided to organize the piece around four actual bridges, covering a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. The second movement, Stone Bridge Over A Reflecting Pool in Souzhou is based on a traditional Chinese song called Moli Hua or Jasmine Flower.
When John Yeh and Fontana Chamber Arts commissioned me to write a quartet involving two clarinets and two Chinese instruments, the Erhu and the Pipa, the title Bridges seemed like a logical choice, bridging the music of the East and the West. Having traveled and performed extensively in China, I was not only drawn to its music, but had fallen in love with its fascinating instruments. Beyond some superficial differences, the folk music of both countries sounds surprisingly familiar, and even the instruments have striking similarities.

Working with folk songs from my own background as well as Chinese songs that I had learned, I decided to organize the piece around four actual bridges, covering a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. The Golden Gate Bridge, recalls the folk music revival of the 1960's and 70's in California, with particular respect paid to the singer Joan Baez. The players are John Yeh and Teresa Reilly, clarinets, Wang Guowei, erhu, Yang Wei, pipa
When John Yeh and Fontana Chamber Arts commissioned me to write a quartet involving two clarinets and two Chinese instruments, the Erhu and the Pipa, the title Bridges seemed like a logical choice, bridging the music of the East and the West. Having traveled and performed extensively in China, I was not only drawn to its music, but had fallen in love with its fascinating instruments. Beyond some superficial differences, the folk music of both countries sounds surprisingly familiar, and even the instruments have striking similarities.

Working with folk songs from my own background as well as Chinese songs that I had learned, I decided to organize the piece around four actual bridges, covering a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. The fourth movement, The Brooklyn Bridge, has a particularly happy co-incidence. I wanted this bridge to partake of the vibrant be-bop era in New York City. In researching be-bop melodies, I came across a standard favored by many jazz musicians, “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin. Using only the harmonic chord changes to this tune, players crafted seemingly endless improvisations. As the song was written in the typical AABA song form, the “B” section was referred to as the “bridge”. Here was the ideal confluence of the many meanings of the word “bridge”, and I leaped at the opportunity to bring them all together in this final movement.
Big cities need small apartments. Carmel Place is a pilot project initiated by NYC to come up with a prototype of a feasible micro-unit building. The film exposes the different construction phases of the highest modular building in Manhattan and the challenges the designers from nARCHITECTS faced. Will Carmel Place lead the way to the future of residential developments?

"Binary" by Victoria Bond
Performed by Pianist: Olga Vinakur
Was used as the soundtrack for this video
Fimmaker: Antti Seppanen
Eric Bunge, AIA, Principal of nARCHITECTS, PLLC
The essay Thinking Like A Mountain crystallizes Aldo Leopold's philosophy about the balance of nature and our ethical relationship towards its preservation. It is the personal confession of one who momentarily upset that balance and whose remorse became the catalyst which prompted him to become a leader in the environmental movement.
In setting this powerful essay, I wanted to paint a portrait of the mountain. I was fascinated by the overlapping life cycles of the many elements which shared the mountain's space, from the slow progression of the rocks to the flickering instant of the insects. They simultaneously inhabited the same world and I saw a parallel in the music, where multiple tempos and melodic lines can co-exist. Rather than illustrating the literal sound effects of nature, this music seeks to give voice to an inner natural order built on the primary elements of acoustics as described by Pythagoras. At this level, mathematics and the natural order have much in common with the structure of mountains.
This composition was commissioned by a consortium including Explore Park in Virginia, The Billings Symphony in Montana, The Elgin Symphony in Illinois and the Shanghai Symphony in China.
The essay Thinking Like A Mountain crystallizes Aldo Leopold's philosophy about the balance of nature and our ethical relationship towards its preservation. It is the personal confession of one who momentarily upset that balance and whose remorse became the catalyst which prompted him to become a leader in the environmental movement.
In setting this powerful essay, I wanted to paint a portrait of the mountain. I was fascinated by the overlapping life cycles of the many elements which shared the mountain's space, from the slow progression of the rocks to the flickering instant of the insects. They simultaneously inhabited the same world and I saw a parallel in the music, where multiple tempos and melodic lines can co-exist. Rather than illustrating the literal sound effects of nature, this music seeks to give voice to an inner natural order built on the primary elements of acoustics as described by Pythagoras. At this level, mathematics and the natural order have much in common with the structure of mountains.
This composition was commissioned by a consortium including Explore Park in Virginia, The Billings Symphony in Montana, The Elgin Symphony in Illinois and the Shanghai Symphony in China.
Instruments of Revelation by Victoria Bond was commissioned by the Orion Ensemble and Ballet Chicago who perform in this video. The piece is inspired by three cards from the Tarot deck: The Magician, The High Priestess and The Fool.
Victoria Bond talks about Victoria Woodhull in her opera Mrs. President
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments.
III Scene from a Comedy is written for clarinet and percussion and portrays three actors wearing masks playing a humorous scene
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. IV The Sybil’s Voice for two violins and viola shows three masked women sitting around a low table. One of them is very old and holds a goblet in her hand and appears to be chanting something mysterious.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. V Chiron Teaches Achilles to Play the Lyre for cello and double bass shows the old centaur Chiron demonstrating how to play the instrument and the young Achilles gratefully receiving his instructions.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. VI. Alexander Mosaic for the full ensemble is a dramatic battle scene, with men and horses clashing violently.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. VII Ash: Awareness of Mortality for the full ensemble is inspired by Pompeii’s tragic doom. The Romans were philosophical, and the movement ends with a calm acceptance of death.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 and given its premiere at the museum in 2009, Frescoes and Ash is based on seven images from Pompeii. Scored for clarinet, piano, percussion and string quintet, each movement illustrates a separate scene and features a different combination of instruments. I. Street Musicians is scored for the full ensemble and describes a raucous band wandering through the streets, dancing and playing the tarantella on tambourine, finger cymbals and flute. II. Marine Mosaic is scored for the piano and strings and depicts fish and other sea creatures gracefully swimming. III Scene from a Comedy is written for clarinet and percussion and portrays three actors wearing masks playing a humorous scene. IV The Sybil’s Voice for two violins and viola shows three masked women sitting around a low table. One of them is very old and holds a goblet in her hand and appears to be chanting something mysterious. V Chiron Teaches Achilles to Play the Lyre for cello and double bass shows the old centaur Chiron demonstrating how to play the instrument and the young Achilles gratefully receiving his instructions. VI. Alexander Mosaic for the full ensemble is a dramatic battle scene, with men and horses clashing violently. VII Ash: Awareness of Mortality for the full ensemble is inspired by Pompeii’s tragic doom. The Romans were philosophical, and the movement ends with a calm acceptance of death.
Pianist Paul Barnes sings the Eastern Orthodox Chant Potirion Sotiriu (Cup of Salvation) before playing Victoria Bond's composition on the piano
Cyclops is based on Episode 12 of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The text functions on two levels: on the first level four men are talking in a bar in Ireland, the first being the Citizen, who is Joyce’s equivalent of the Cyclops, the second being Leopold Bloom, the hero of Ulysses, the third being the narrator and the fourth being a man identified as Joe. In the novel there are many more characters that appear in the bar, but in my excerpt I have limited them to just these four. On the second level, Joyce spins elaborate parodies around each of each of the topics discussed, imitating various literary styles. I have mirrored this in setting these fanciful “riffs” in a wild variety of musical styles, including a 19th century dancehall tune, Baroque oratorio, silent-film era soundtrack, a quote from Tristan and Isolde, the William Tell overture and many other familiar and not-so-familiar melodies. Because Joyce names specific musical works in this episode, I have been faithful to these references in my musical choices, arranging, distorting and adding my own personal take on each. The cast includes four actors who will play the parts of the four men in the bar, singers from the Manhattan Choral Ensemble, who, together with the instrumentalists of the PULSE chamber players will perform the parodies, and artist Timothy Decker, whose artwork illustrating the various sections will be projected during the performance.Music: Victoria Bond
Text: from Episode 12 of James Joyce's "Ulysses"

April 1, 2013 Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival
Symphony Space, New York City

Performers: The Manhattan Choral Ensemble
PULSE trio: Scott Flavin, violin, Margaret Donaghue Flavin clarinet,
Margaret Radushina, piano
Actors: Rich Dreher, Sean Gormley, Cornelius Horgan, Sean McNall
Conductor: Victoria Bond
Psalm 84 has appealed to me ever since I encountered it in the Brahms Requiem when I sang in the chorus during my undergraduate years at the University of Southern California. It 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. When I was commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria to compose a psalm setting as part of the organization’s psalms project, I immediately thought of #84.

The range of moods varies from quiet contemplation to ecstatic joy and the challenge was to encompass these in a brief eight- minute composition. The key was the recurring phrase “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place.” I looked up the English translation as well as the original words in Hebrew. What I discovered was that there were multiple English words to every Hebrew word, the implication being that the nuances of the text could not be expressed with a single word or phrase. Rather than choosing just one, I decided to include all of the various meanings, making my translation of the text a commentary of differing viewpoints.

The result was that each phrase became extended, an example being the first phrase: “How lovely, how blessed, how beautiful, how beloved.” When this phrase first occurs at the very opening of the piece, the basses begin, with the tenors, mezzo-sopranos and sopranos overlapping in canon, each voice beginning a fifth above the other. The intensity grows with the accumulation of voices, and as the sopranos complete the final iteration, the mezzos, tenors and basses sing the original Hebrew words as an accompaniment, ending in the first cadence on a forte chord. After this all the voices join together singing the phrase whispered pianissimo, like a meditative prayer.

The following section expresses the word “Yearning,” and again, because there were multiple English meanings to the Hebrew words, I included them all: “I yearn, I pine, I long, I hunger.” This section grows by short, overlapping phrases, unlike the long phrase of the first section, and ends in a cadence higher and more intense than the first section.

There are several fugal sections, the first to the words “My body and soul.” Here each of the vocal groups has different English translations: “My body and soul, my spirit and breath, my feeling and heart, my being and voice.” All of the voices come together at the conclusion of the third cadence with the word “rejoices!” This word cried out for an antiphonal shout of joy.

There follows a fugue at the fifth, recalling the interval of the entrances at the beginning, but this time the subject is worked out in fugal fashion with counter-subject and inversion. The prayer-like repetition of “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place” returns as a brief interlude before the final fugue, which is worked out in augmentation, diminution and double augmentation, as well as in inversion.

The following section echoes the “rejoices” music, this time to the words “They praise you,” which are sung first antiphonally and then by the women’s voices over the original melody, sung by the men. The setting ends with the opening phrase sung accapella, first softly whispered and then forte, with the organ concluding the phrase under the chorus’ sustained chord.

Counterpoint forms the basis of my musical language in this setting, it being a traditional technique favored by Baroque composers. Counterpoint was also a useful tool to express the multiplicity of translations, perspectives and moods I wanted to illuminate. The voices unify only during the communal prayer-like settings of the opening text.
Performed November 23rd, 2014 @ The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.

The combined choirs of Temple Emanu-El & the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine conducted by Kent Tritle.

Psalm 84 has appealed to me ever since I encountered it in the Brahms Requiem. It 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. The words of this psalm are imprinted on my heart, and I hope to find music that can convey their deep emotion.
Baroque music conjures up the image of solidity, logic, monumental and eternal truths captured in counterpoint so inevitable that it seems to have always been. Certainly the men who came together in the summer of 1787 wanted to achieve this certainty in their draft of the Constitution. This was not to be easily won, as they argued and fought over issues that still plague us today. How to capture this turmoil in music? How to show the vision of what could be and the struggle of how to get there, using instruments and a vocal ensemble that suited the era? I needed to think beyond the Baroque traditions, to allow these instruments and voices to speak in a contemporary idiom, expressing the passion, rage and exasperation that eventually crafted the great document by which we live.
A More Perfect Union allowed me the opportunity to explore in music the passionate arguments and heated debates that formed our Constitution. Far from being a dry and rational process, the men who came together at the Constitutional Convention had strong ideas and personalities and were not shy in expressing them. To represent the fire of their convictions using the instruments of the Baroque era presented a challenge. I needed to rethink each instrument's potential and move beyond the familiar language. I discovered that the harpsichord could express very bold musical gestures as well as dissonant harmonies without violating its intrinsic nature. The viola da gamba, in contrast, had a quiet assuredness with a voice that was quite different than that of the cello. The other instruments of the ensemble, the flute, violin and percussion, all have become part of the contemporary composer's palette of colors and moved quite naturally into the dramatic world in which I found myself.
Using Thomas Jefferson's actual campaign song as the theme upon which the entire structure was built, I moved back and forth in time, between the granite structures of Baroque musical edifices and the liquid elasticity of contemporary landscapes, connecting the elemental core of our hopes and dreams.
A More Perfect Union is unique in its blend of Baroque opera-ballet and American music-theater, giving equal weight to words, music and dance. These three elements have long been a part of the American musical but to put them to the service of an abstract concept is novel. This opera is not a story. Its characters are regions of the country and concepts, not individuals, and in this way it is most related to the opera-ballet. I do not believe that there has ever been an American music-theater work or opera treating this subject matter in this way.
Performed at the Diaghilev Festival, Russia
Victoria Bond discusses her background and family history.
Most pianists can relate incidents involving page turners – some comical, some terrifying. It is a job that is taken for granted by most, until something disastrous happens. I have designed a piece for pianist and actor incorporating many of the experiences I have heard as well as experienced first-hand. The piano work is written so that it’s most dramatic moments occur when the page must be turned. This brings the role of the page turner into direct contact with the music. Knowing that so much depends upon the split second timing, the page turner in this episode commits all the blunders I could think of. There is a surprise ending, however, which I would not want to disclose! At the end of this video (5:15), pianist Kathleen Supove performs the first movement of "Binary".
"Binary" was commissioned by Paul Schenly for Pianofest, a summer piano festival in East Hampton where I was invited to be composer-in-residence.
In mathematics and computer science the binary numeral system uses two symbols, 0 and 1. As early as 1703, the mathematician Gottfried Leibniz believed that binary numbers represented the mystical “creatio ex nihilo” or creation out of nothing. 0 and 1 have had profound applications in our digital world and I wanted to explore how they could be applied to music.
The first movement of “Binary” is built on the interval of the second. It is expressed melodically in single lines, harmonically in thick block chords, dynamically in pounding fortes and whispered pianissimos, and kinetically in fast passages and glacially static ones. All harmonic and melodic patterns are derived from this interval.
The second movement is built on the rhythm of two beats. It is a set of variations on the Brazilian samba and restricts the theme to its rhythmic element alone, subordinating all others. Within a seemingly restrictive boundary, I discovered an astonishing amount of variety.
El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the United States and is located in Puerto Rico. It is home to many exotic creatures, including the Puerto Rican Parrot and the tree frog called “Coqui.” Because both of these are so musical in their vocalizations, I decided to create a sound environment composed of their cries.
The Puerto Rican Parrot utters distinctive “kar…kar” while flying. Each note is given on a descending scale. It also gives loud squawks when taking off, and some chuckling notes. When perched, both mates perform duets.
Coqui is a tiny tree frog, onomatopoeically named for the loud sound the males make at night, sometimes reaching as high as 100 decibels! It is the unofficial symbol of Puerto Rico and is very popular, enlivening the evenings with its ko-kee from which it get its name. The coquies begin to sing when the sun goes down at dusk, singing all night long until dawn. When I visited Puerto Rico, the lusty serenade of these tireless divos fascinated me, and I imagined strange love songs, whose messages could only be comprehended by their lady loves, filling the night with arias unknown to human beings.
Seattle Collaborative Orchestra conducted by Anna Edwards performs "El Yunque" by Victoria Bond
Victoria Bond visits the Harry Partch instrument collection at Montclair University
The samba is a dance originating in Brazil, with its roots Africa. The rhythm of this dance has fascinated me for many years and I have used it in several compositions. “Samba” for flute and piano is all about rhythm, and all other elements, such as melody, harmony and counterpoint are subordinated, making the rhythm and its syncopations the main feature. The flute and the piano dance a duet.Samba arranged for flute and piano
Travels is a contemporary retelling of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. the hero, Gull, visits places familiar to a modern audience. The next trip brings Gull to an upscale health club called “The Golden Calf”. A sexy woman welcomes him with a sensuous strip tease, stripping down to her spandex workout outfit promising to transform Gulls’ flabby flesh into muscle. He enters the club and begins to work out on the machines, who are singers dressed in metallic outfits. But they menace him, criticizing him, giving him conflicting orders until he is completely confused and exhausted. He tries to take part in an aerobic exercise class which gets more and more frantic as the leader demands increasingly difficult steps, and he drops out. This section features the dancers as well as the members of the chorus. As chorus people drop out, the dancers are left to perform a virtuoso ballet. After they leave, a beautiful young woman enters and begins to exercise in front of the mirror. He is enchanted with her and tries to get her attention, but she is only interested in her own image. They sing a duet about her body, each describing it in opposite terms. He sees her as soft, helpless and feminine, and she sees herself as strong and muscular. He is frustrated because she does not even notice him, and he leaves, returning to the train.