John Thomas Dodson, Music Director
John Thomas Dodson was named as Music Director of the Lexington Bach Festival in 2015. In addition to his work with the Lexington Bach Festival, Dodson serves as Music Director of Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo, a music festival in the Colonial City of the capital of the Dominican Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage site. He was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisory of the Cleveland Women's Orchestra beginning with the 2019 - 2020 season. In that capacity Dodson will conduct Puccini's Manon Lescaut with the Cleveland Opera and lead the orchestra in its 85th Season performance in Severance Hall.
During his fourteen seasons with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra he expanded educational offerings to include Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program, introduced innovative concert formats to draw new audiences and sought out new performance venues within the community. His leadership was defined by a broad approach to programming that included a complete Beethoven Cycle, world premieres of contemporary music by leading American composers and jazz concerts. As Music Director of the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra in Southeast Michigan he broadened the orchestra's reach to encompass a region from Farmington Hills to Grosse Pointe and introduced the orchestra to a much broader public through performances in non-traditional settings. The orchestra's concerts were broadcast on WRCJ, Detroit's Classical Music Radio Station.
As a guest conductor, John Thomas Dodson has led concerts with the Athens State Orchestra, Budapest Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic, Bialystok Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra UANL in Monterrey, Mexico. Dodson 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. Recent projects include conducting the world premiere of Theodore Antoniou’s Cello Concerto in Athens, Greece, and recording the orchestral music of Robert Jager for the Naxos label. Other notable contemporary music projects include a two-year collaboration with Kenneth Fuchs as the Adrian Symphony Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence and co-commissioning a new work by Christopher Theofinidis.
At the conclusion of Dodson’s time with the Adrian Symphony, a resolution recognizing his community impact was entered in the U.S. Congressional Record, and he was honored by city and county commissions, as well as the State of Michigan, for his contributions to the cultural life of the region. Dodson also received the Lenawee Arts Award from the Croswell Opera House and was given the Ross Newsom Award for Outstanding Teaching by Adrian College where he taught from 2001-2013. Dodson received a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from Siena Heights University in May of 2016.
John Thomas 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. 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.