John Thomas Dodson

John Thomas Dodson has been asking questions about how the arts can be used in building communities. Currently Music Director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo, he has been involved in redesigning the model of the American orchestra. He is passionate about serving as a catalyst for placing the orchestra as a vibrant center of modern life.

John Thomas Dodson has served as Music Director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra since 2001. His tenure has included an expansion of the orchestra’s education offerings, the introduction of new concert formats, performances in numerous new venues, and innovative programming that includes jazz, world premieres of contemporary music and a wide variety of repertoire from Albinoni and Bruckner to Bright Sheng, Augusta Read Thomas and Christopher Theofanidis. This season, his final one with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, includes a collaboration with legendary pianist Philippe Entremont, a performance of Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony and the conclusion of a multi-season cycle exploring all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies in new, critical editions.

John Thomas Dodson is Music Director of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. This year the orchestra celebrates forty years of music making in Southeast Michigan with concerts in Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, The Community House in Birmingham, and the War Memorial in Grosse Pointe.

Mr. Dodson also leads music festivals here and abroad. He was recently named Music Director and Conductor of the Lexington Bach Festival, a concert series in the “First Resort North”, located in Michigan’s Blue Water Area on the shoreline of Lake Huron, and he serves as Artistic Director of Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo, a music festival in the Dominican Republic featuring concerts and educational activities in the historic buildings of the first city of the New World.

In addition to his conducting activities in the United States, Mr. Dodson appears as a guest conductor with international orchestras including the Athens State Orchestra, Budapest Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, Bialystok Philharmonic, and the Symphony Orchestra UANL in Monterrey, Mexico. He has made numerous tours of Russia conducting the National Philharmonic of Russia, National Symphony Orchestra of Bashkortostan, Irkutzk Symphony Orchestra, and the Omsk State Academic Symphony Orchestra.

Dodson has collaborated with many living composers, leading over twenty-five world-premieres in the United States, Russia and Europe. Notable projects include conducting the world premiere of Theodore Antoniou’s Cello Concerto with the Athens State Orchestra and cellist Yannis Tsitselikis and recording the orchestral music by Robert Jager with the Omsk Philharmonic for the Naxos label. Recent Adrian Symphony Orchestra contemporary music projects include a two-year collaboration with Kenneth Fuchs as the orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence, resulting in five world premieres of works that were later recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Dodson also led the Adrian Symphony Orchestra in the Michigan premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’ Of Paradise and Light and the world premiere of Robert Jager’s Of Things Remembered, and he invited Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng to conduct his music with the orchestra. In 2014 Dodson conducted a premiere-season performance of Christopher Theofinidis’ Virtue, a contemporary re-working of Ordu Virtutum, a liturgical drama by the medieval composer and mystic Hildegard von Bingen, as part of a three-orchestra co-commissioning partnership, and this season the orchestra hosts Michael Daugherty as it performs the renowned composer’s Trail of Tears with the soloist for whom it was written, flutist Amy Porter.

John Thomas Dodson holds a master of music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland where he studied under renowned conducting pedagogue Frederik Prausnitz. He continued his conducting studies with Paul Vermel at the Aspen Music School, studied composition with Robert Jager and was mentored in strings by Ed Meyer, father of bass virtuoso and composer Edgar Meyer. His website is located at

Photo: Jean-Luc Fievet

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