Baird Dodge: The Road to His Passion

Q: Many are surprised to find that you initially did not pursue music as a career in your college studies. Can you tell us more about this?
A: I do have a master’s degree in violin performance, but initially I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study or pursue professionally. In college, I had a broad liberal arts education and majored in chemistry. Besides science, I especially enjoyed studying literature and art history.

Q: What was initially holding you back?
A: I had taken violin lessons as a kid and started to really love music when I was around 12 or 13, but I was daunted by how competitive the classical music field is. After all, I was studying at the same music school on Saturdays as Gil Shaham, Midori and other prodigies!

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
A: Sometime in my senior year, I realized that music was my overriding passion and that I needed a life in music in whatever way possible.

Q: How does this unique path affect you as a performer?
A: I spent two years after college practicing a lot and taking violin lessons in order to feel ready to apply for graduate programs. Although in some ways I had to play catch-up as a violinist, I do feel that my unusual background has ultimately afforded me some strengths. For one, I didn’t pursue music in order to demonstrate my talent or ability; in fact, it was my doubts about these that made me explore other areas. As a result, when I perform I’m less focused on demonstrating expertise than on understanding the music and bringing it across to the listener as powerfully as I can. Similarly, since I never took for granted a career in music, I have a heightened awareness and appreciation for how lucky I am to play music every day. I always try to remember how fortunate I am to be doing this, and to do everything I can to communicate vividly and deeply with the audience.

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