Composition Seminar – Victoria Bernath: Gatewood (2018): Challenging the operatic paradigm in the twenty-first century

Dr Victoria Bernath, Distinguished FRSM


Gatewood (2018): Challenging the operatic paradigm in the

twenty-first century

British-Canadian violist and composer Victoria Bernath discusses the creative process in writing her fourth chamber opera, Gatewood (2018), scored for violist-vocalist, baritone, and ensemble. Based on the life and times of ‘America’s most famous pedestrian’, Emma Gatewood (1887-1973), this sung drama focuses on the year 1955 when, at the age of 67, Gatewood became the first woman to walk the entirety of the Appalachian trail in one season. During this lecture Dr. Bernath will perform examples and discuss the musical influences and socio-cultural issues which underpin her newest operatic venture.



Victoria Bernath is rising to the fore as one of Britain’s leading young performer-composers and world’s first violist-vocalist. Her award-winning artistry has seen her perform as a soloist and chamber musician at venues across Britain, Canada, China, the United States and Germany including the Wigmore Hall (London), the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Shanghai) and the Concertgebouw (Bruges). She is also the youngest, British female composer to have her work performed live for HRH, the Queen of England. Victoria performs regularly with leading UK ensembles including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Victoria is an alumna of both the Royal Academy of Music and the University of York, and a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music. She plays on a 1907 Azzoli viola.