Summer Choral Institute

Cantate and Montgomery College Present

Summer Choral Institute 2024

Rehearsals Monday, June 17; Thursday, June 20; and Monday, June 24 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Montgomery College Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee St, Rockville, MD 20850

Dress Rehearsal Wednesday, June 26 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm; Concert Thursday, June 27, at 7:30

Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center: 7995 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Cantate is pleased to partner with Montgomery College to revive the popular Summer Choral Institute this June under the co-direction of Cantate Artistic Director Victoria Gau and Montgomery College Professor of Music Molly Donnelly. Experienced adult singers from around the region are invited to share the joy of community singing at this summer intensive as they refresh and develop skills to support their choral experiences throughout the year. Four intensive workshop-rehearsals over two weeks culminate in a free public concert of exciting varied choral works on Thursday, June 27. This is a not-to-be missed opportunity for singers committed to building their voices and musicianship and sharing community with local musicians.

Workshop-Rehearsals will be held in Rockville on Monday, June 17; Thursday, June 20; and Monday, June 24, from 7:00 – 10:00pm. The dress rehearsal and concert will take place at The Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring on Wednesday, June 26, from 7:00 – 10:00 and Thursday, June 27 at 7:30 respectively. The final concert is free and open to the public. Tuition is $100 plus the cost of music. Works on the 2024 SCI Concert Program will be announced shortly. Interested singers can apply here.

Program Leadership

Victoria Gau, Co-director

Victoria Gau

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 Artistic Director and Conductor of the Capital City Symphony (D.C.). In 2019, she completed a nine-year tenure as Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the National Philharmonic (Md.). Orchestral guest conducting includes the Alexandria (Va.) Symphony, Akron (Ohio) Symphony, the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra, and the Kennedy Center Messiah Sing-Along. She has been active as Artistic Director of the Takoma Ensemble and is the former Conductor and Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra in Richmond, Va.

Maestra Gau is well known in the Washington, D.C., area for her work as Associate Conductor at National Philharmonic, where she 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, 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.

Gau has a passion for fostering ongoing expression in music and is known as a strong advocate for American composers, with a particular interest in female and BIPOC composers. Her interests extend to supporting young artists. She recently founded the Cantate Young Artists of Color program, in which the chorus facilitates opportunities for and mentorship of young artists who are in residence for a season.

Maestra Gau has appeared frequently in the D.C. area as an opera conductor. She has served as Artistic Director and Music Director/Conductor of the Other Opera Company in Bethesda, Md., 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. 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 for nine years 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 D.C.-area youth orchestras and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, the SOGO Conservatory Orchestra (Olympia, Wash.), the Vermont All-State Orchestra Festival, and the Maryland Senior All-State Orchestra. She returns in spring 2023 to conduct the Maryland Junior All-State Orchestra. Gau is a favored orchestral clinician in the region, and teaches conducting both privately and at workshops, most recently at the 2022 American String Teachers National Conference.

Known for her ability to connect with audiences both on and off the stage, Ms. Gau is also a popular lecturer on music. As pre-concert lecturer at National Philharmonic performances, she tripled the size of the lecture audience in her first three years. She has served on the faculty of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Johns Hopkins University, guest lectured for the Alexandria Symphony, and led classes for the Monday Morning Music Club in Alexandria.

Gau holds degrees in Viola Performance and Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she won the Phi Kappa Lambda Prize for Musicianship.

Molly Donnelly, Co-Director

Molly Donnelly

Mezzo-soprano Molly Donnelly has sung as a soloist with Musica Sacra, The Oratorio Society of New York, The Minnesota Orchestra, The National Symphony, The Baltimore Symphony, The Berlin Philharmonic, The Bethlehem Bach Festival, The Washington Bach Consort, The Cathedral Choral Society, The Maryland Handel Festival, The Maryland Chorus, The National Philharmonic, The Washington Opera, The Cincinnati Opera, The Oratorio Society of Washington, The Masterworks Chorus, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, The Denver Symphony, The Colorado Springs Symphony, The Boulder Philharmonic, The Ohio Light Opera, The Washington Savoyards, and many other notable ensembles. Dr. Donnelly is a Fulbright Scholar and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland, a Master of Music from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado. As a scholar, Dr. Donnelly is the author of the article on the  18th-century singer Susannah Cibber in the Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Of her performance as Tolomeo in the premiere of the North American production of Handel’s opera Tolomeo, Andrew Porter, reviewing for The New Yorker, wrote: “Her voice has character — an elusive quality, God-given, not acquirable, that makes people listen. Her countenance is clear and candid, her presence lithe and honest, her expressiveness sterling.”

As a voice teacher and choral conductor, Dr. Donnelly has been a member of the music faculty at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, The University of Maryland, and George Mason University. Since 1997, she has taught at Montgomery College, where she teaches voice and directs the Chamber Singers and the College Chorus. She is an active adjudicator serving the National Association of Teachers of Singing, The National Symphony Young Artists Award, The Friday Morning Music Club Awards, and Montgomery County Public Schools choral festivals.  Dr. Donnelly has been the co-director of the annual National Philharmonic Chorale’s Summer Choral Institute held at Montgomery College and vocal consultant for the National Philharmonic Chorale. She has many former students singing professionally around the world as well as teaching voice and choral music throughout the country.

Sooyoung Jung, Pianist

Sooyoung Jung

Sooyoung Jung received her master’s degree at the Juilliard School in New York as a recipient of the Samuel Sanders Memorial Scholarship. In 2002, she made her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall with the support of the Korean Foundation. She performs actively as a recitalist and a chamber musician in the United States and Korea, with solo credits at the Seoul Symphony and McLean Symphony.

Splitting her time between New York and Washington D.C., she performs art songs, operas, and chamber music as a collaborative pianist. She has served as an official pianist for many summer festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, the Nice Music Festival in France, and the Mozarteum Festival in Germany.

Sooyoung is also a skilled organist. She is the principal organist at the McLean Baptist Church in Virginia and has played with the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland. She studied with pianist Rita Sloan as a Doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland and assisted most of the performances of the Maryland Opera Studio. In 2011, she finished her Doctoral degree as a Collaborative Pianist. She joined the piano faculty of Montgomery College in 2010 and works as the Chorus and Chamber Singers pianist under the direction of Dr. Molly Donnelly.

Cantate, a nonprofit corporation under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Maryland State Arts Council, and The Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.
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