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 (DC). In 2019 she completed a 9-year tenure as Associate Conductor of National Philharmonic. Orchestral guest conducting includes the Alexandria (VA) Symphony, Akron (OH) Symphony, the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra, the Kennedy Center Messiah Sing-Along, and, in spring 2024, the Columbia Orchestra. 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 DC 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, 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 worked with such choruses as the Fairfax Choral Society, the Metropolitan Chorus, Capitol Hill Chorale, and the Congressional Chorus.
Ms. 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, where the chorus facilitates opportunities for and mentorship of young artists who are in residence for a season.
Maestra Gau has been seen frequently in the DC area 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 the IN-Series. Ms. Gau has been a member of 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, and Pennsylvania. 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 Junior and Senior All-State Orchestras. She is in demand in the region as an orchestral clinician, 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 been on the faculty of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Johns Hopkins University, and has been a guest lecturer for the Alexandria Symphony, and taught classes for the Monday Morning Music Club in Alexandria.
Ms. Gau holds degrees in Viola Performance and Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she won the Phi Kappa Lambda Prize for Musicianship.