Lauded by critics for her “strong sense of style and drama” (The Washington Post) and her “enthusiastic and perceptive conducting”, conductor Victoria Gau brings a wide range of musical experience and expertise to her work. In addition to her role as Music Director of Cantate, she is in her 22nd season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Capital City Symphony (DC). She was Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Takoma Ensemble (MD), and recently completed a 9-year tenure as Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the National Philharmonic (MD). Orchestral guest conducting includes the Alexandria (VA) Symphony, Akron (OH) Symphony, the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra, and the Kennedy Center Messiah Sing-Along. She is the former Conductor and Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra in Richmond, VA.
As the National Philharmonic’s Associate Conductor, Gau was involved in preparation of the 150-voice National Philharmonic Chorale for approximately six concerts per season and served as Co-Director of the 30-voice National Philharmonic Singers and Director and Co-Conductor of the National Philharmonic Summer Choral Institutes. During her tenure at National Philharmonic, she prepared and conducted the chorale and orchestra in highly successful performances of works ranging from Bach’s St. John Passion and Mozart’s Requiem to Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and Lutoslawski’s Trois Poèmes d’Henri Michaux. In 2017, she launched the Capital City Singers, an occasional chorus for the Capital City Symphony. Gau has also guest conducted such choruses as The Metropolitan Chorus, Capitol Hill Chorale, and the Congressional Chorus.
Known as a strong advocate for American composers and for fostering ongoing expression in music, Ms. Gau has conducted premieres of works by Jorge Martin, Charlie Barnett, Scott Pender, Joel Friedman, and Alistair Coleman. Most recent world premieres include Beside the Golden Door by Kim Allen and Kathryn Kluge; a new version of Illuminismo, a concerto for percussion and saxophone by Andrian Pertout; and in spring 2019, the world premiere of Scott Pender’s Oedipus: Suite for Large Orchestra.
Maestra Gau is well-known in the Washington DC area for her work as an opera conductor. She has served as Artistic Director and Music Director/Conductor of the Other Opera Company in Bethesda, Maryland, which she co-founded in 1992. She has also served as music director for such Washington area companies as The Washington Savoyards, Victorian Lyric Opera Company, Annapolis Opera Musicales, the Eldbrook Opera Ensemble, and IN Series. Ms. Gau has served on the opera faculty at George Mason University and worked as a vocal coach privately and in the Crittenden Opera Studio. She has toured with Odyssey Opera Theatre and the Baltimore Opera Company, performing educational outreach in schools throughout the state of Maryland.
Gau is in demand as a conductor and string educator at youth orchestra festivals from coast to coast. She was Director of the National Philharmonic’s Summer String Institutes and continues to conduct the Junior Institute Orchestra. She is the former conductor of the Young Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, an elite group of string players from the DC Youth Orchestra Program, as well as the Akron Youth Symphony, and has conducted youth orchestra festivals in Virginia, Ohio, and New York. Recently Gau has been seen conducting Side-by Side events with DC-area youth orchestras and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the SOGO Conservatory Orchestra (Olympia, WA), the Vermont All-State Orchestra Festival, and the Maryland (2018) Senior All-State Orchestra.
Known for her ability to connect with audiences both on and off the stage, Ms. Gau is also a popular lecturer on music. She gave pre-concert lectures before all National Philharmonic performances, where she tripled the size of the lecture audience in her first three years. She has been on the faculty of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Johns Hopkins University and has been a guest lecturer for the Alexandria Symphony. Ms. Gau began leading classes for the Monday Morning Music Club in Alexandria in January 2019.
Gau holds degrees in Viola Performance and Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she won the Phi Kappa Lambda Prize for Musicianship.