The 46th season of the Saint Vincent College Concert Series continued Saturday night, Jan. 20, with classical guitarist Jordan Dodson’s performance in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica Crypt at 7 p.m.
Jordan Dodson’s visit is the first of four planned performances during the 2018 spring semester.
Dodson is the winner of Astral’s 2013 National Auditions as well as an active soloist and chamber musician based in Philadelphia and New York. According to Performance Today, Dodson is “one of the top young guitarists of his generation.”
Dodson began the concert by playing Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “A Felicidade” as arranged by Roland Dyens. He then followed with a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro, BWV 998,” which Dodson described as “sublime and intensely beautiful.” Dodson then played the pieces “A Fancy” by John Dowland, “Chance Monsoon” (2014) by Dai Fujikara and “suspension/bridge” by Jason Eckhardt before performing two etudes by Giulio Regondi. After a short intermission, Dodson returned to the crypt to play the four movements of Elliot Cole’s “Bloom Suite” (2013). Dodson then concluded the concert with the three movements of Roland Dyens’ “Libra Sonatine” (1986) which he mentioned was one of his favorite pieces to play.
After the show, the audience was invited to a reception in the Parish assembly room to meet the featured performer.
After the concert, Dodson revealed his experience with a variety of instruments.
“I started playing piano as a kid from age 6 or 7 and took lessons. In about fourth grade, I switched to saxophone and then for my tenth birthday, I got an electric guitar. I started a band immediately with my friends pretty much before we could even play. We learned a few chords and played at a church shortly after,” Dodson said. “Well, more stumbled our way through some church songs. It was probably pretty bad but those were my beginnings. I played in a lot of bands through my teen years and then around sixteen, maybe fifteen, I switched to classical guitar.”
Dodson explained his sources of inspiration.
“If I’m drawn to a piece, I just try to ask myself ‘what is the piece trying to express, what does it really get across?’ I dig into that and try to bring out all the salient characteristics of the piece; I try to do more of that than going to other concerts of guitarists and hearing what they do. I try to just approach each piece on its own terms and express what I think it’s trying to get across,” Dodson said.
Dodson’s favorite part of what he does is the traveling.
“…I get to travel and play for diverse audiences. A few weeks ago, I was in Shanghai and then I came back and a few days later, I was in Washington, D.C. and then Philadelphia after that and now I’m here and I’m playing in New York City on the Lower East Side next weekend...”
Dodson was enthusiastic about his position in Saint Vincent’s 46th Concert Series.
“It’s great, it looks like a really great lineup. It seems like a really good series and I’m very happy to have played in the Crypt. It has a beautiful acoustic, especially for the classical guitar because the classical guitar doesn’t sound good in every hall. For instance, if there’s carpeting, it’ll soak up the sound. But we don’t have a very loud dynamic anyway and we need all the help we can get. And the Crypt has that wood and the brick, and it reverberates so beautifully. That was a really cool experience for me,” Dodson said.
Dodson also praised his listeners from Saturday night.
“The audience seemed very well-informed, very educated,” Dodson said. “You could tell by some of the comments afterward that they were really locked in and they were with me every step of the way. I got that sense also when I was playing, and that really just makes the recital [so enjoyable] for me. I know that I’m making kind of an effect on people, and to hear that confirmation after the recital is very rewarding.”
Moira Sullivan, freshman anthropology major, attended the concert and spoke positively of the experience.
“I thought it was fantastic, very well done,” Sullivan said. “He’s a very good musician. You don’t see as many examples of complex guitar music around so it was great to hear a performance that displayed the strengths of the guitar as a musical instrument.”
Fr. Constantine Cyprian, director of the SVC concert series, said that Dodson’s concert was a success.
“Jordan Dodson’s performance was outstanding; he has a brilliant technique and subtle expressiveness. His performance was very well-received by the large audience who kept rapt attention during the concert and applauded him with a standing ovation at its conclusion,” Cyprian said.
The next performance in the Concert Series will be by the Seraph Brass Quintet and is scheduled to take place on Feb. 17 in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica.