New York City native Baird Dodge joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a violist in 1996. He moved to the second violin section later that same year, and he was appointed principal second violin by Daniel Barenboim in 2002.
Dodge studied violin and viola from an early age and attended the precollege division of the Juilliard School. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990, and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York–Stony Brook in 1994. His teachers have included Helen Kwalwasser, Gregory Fulkerson and Joyce Robbins.
An avid chamber musician, Dodge has collaborated with such artists as Daniel Barenboim, Isadore Cohen, Ida Kavafian, Samuel Rhodes, David Sawyer and Pinchas Zukerman, and he also has appeared as a guest artist on several occasions with the Chicago and Colorado string quartets. He has performed at the Bravo! Colorado Festival, the Taos Chamber Music Festival, the Marlboro Music Festival and on Music from Marlboro tours.
Dodge has a special interest in contemporary music. He often has performed works by his father Charles Dodge, including the premiere of his Violin Etudes at Columbia University’s Miller Theater in 1994 and a recording of the Viola Elegy for New Albion Records in 1992. In 2006, he premiered and recorded Carillon Sky, a chamber concerto written for him by Augusta Read Thomas, on the CSO’s MusicNOW series with Oliver Knussen conducting, and he later performed the work with Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia. He also has championed the works of composer James Matheson, giving premieres of several pieces, including the Violin Concerto, with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the CSO in 2011.