John 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 became Music Director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra in 2001. During his time with the orchestra, the Adrian Symphony Orchestra has experienced tremendous artistic development, remarkable audience growth and sustained financial success. The orchestra has collaborated with soloists of an exceptionally high level, introduced audience-educational programs which serve the entire age spectrum and created innovative concert-formats, all of which have combined to draw the largest audiences in the orchestra’s history. For his impact upon the musical life of the community, Dodson received the 2008 Lenawee Arts Award from the Croswell Opera House. 

in 2011 Dodson became Artistic Director of Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo, a project with concerts, recitals, educational activities and discovery experiences held in the historic sites of the first city in the Western Hemisphere. There, Dodson conducts Camerata Colonial, a chamber orchestra comprised of outstanding musicians from New York City Ballet Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic and outstanding musical institutions from the United States.

Previously Dodson was Music Director of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra where he invited members of the New York Philharmonic to solo with the orchestra, hosted a television program to introduce classical music to new audiences, and commissioned a new work for each of his eight seasons. The orchestra twice received the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Sally Parker Education Award in national recognition of its efforts to bring classical music to children. Dodson has also been Music Director of Orchestra New York with concerts in Carnegie Hall and St. Luke’s Church, and as Music Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra of Tucson, where he founded the Coronado Music Festival atop Mt. Lemmon in the Coronado National Forest.

As a guest conductor John Thomas Dodson has worked with the Athens State Symphony, Budapest Philharmonic, National Philharmonic of Russia, National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, National Symphony Orchestra of Bashkortostan, Omsk State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Bialystok Philharmonic, Irkutzk Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra UANL of Monterrey, Mexico. In the US he has been engaged as a guest conductor with Rochester Philharmonic, West Michigan Symphony, South West Michigan Symphony, Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Ft. Smith Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Sewanee Music Festival, Oklahoma Arts Festival and Tennessee’s Governor’s School for the Arts.

Dodson’s recording of the music of Robert Jager with the Omsk Philharmonic, the St. Louis Children’s Chorus, Leipzig Gewandhaus principal flautist Stephanie Winker, and Michael Lackey as narrator was released in 2011 on the NAXOS label.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, John Thomas Dodson studied composition with Robert Jager at Tennessee Technological University. He was mentored in strings by Ed Meyer, father of bass virtuoso and composer Edgar Meyer. Dodson holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland where he studied under renowned conducting pedagogue Frederik Prausnitz and later with Paul Vermel as a fellow at the Aspen Music School.

Photo: Jean-Luc Fievet

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