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Michael Dodds

Michael Dodds

MICHAEL DODDS, Music History

Michael Dodds serves as head of music history at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he also conducts the UNCSA Wind Ensemble. A specialist in Baroque music, Dodds completed his Ph.D. in musicology at the Eastman School of Music, where his musicology mentors included Kerala Snyder and Alfred Mann. Dodds majored in violin at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Ill., serving as concertmaster and winning the annual concerto competition in his freshman year. His violin teachers include Lee Joiner, Zvi Zeitlin, and Sylvia Rosenberg, while his conducting mentors include Henry Charles Smith, Paul Wiens, and Alfred Mann.

In recent conference papers and articles, Dodds has explored contexts for improvisation in counter-reformation liturgy; fugal procedures in Bach passion choruses; parallels between cartography and music theory in the age of discovery; performance practices at Florence's cathedral in the Baroque era; instructions for organists in Renaissance and Baroque plainchant manuals; implicit epistemologies in modal theory; the relationship between the Phrygian mode and E minor in Baroque music; fugal improvisation in the North German Baroque; competing systems of modal thought in the Baroque; and transposition practices in “alternatim” psalmody in the 17th century. He is writing a book on the role of the organ in Baroque office liturgy, examining particularly the manner in which the so-called “tuoni ecclesiastici”mediate between vocal and instrumental ways of conceptualizing tonal space during the transition from modes to keys.

International experiences have figured prominently in Dodds' personal and artistic development. He spent most of his childhood in the eastern rainforest of Peru, where his parents served as medical missionaries. Later he worked for the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and more recently spent a research sabbatical in Florence, Italy. Dodds is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award as well as Fulbright and NEH research fellowships. Dodds also serves as director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem. He is married to Jane, a portrait artist. They have five children.