Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Baird Dodge and a few friends created Color Field, a flexible ensemble that can morph between two instruments and a small chamber orchestra to play repertoire musically interesting and challenging to the musicians. For our concert and recording sessions, Color Field was Baird Dodge and Gina Dibello on violins, Weijing Wang on viola and Yi Xin on cello. Baird, Gina and Weijing are all members of Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Baird serves as principal second violin), and Yi Xin sometimes plays cello in the orchestra for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. If anyone doubts his operatic lyricism, they need only listen to the sensitive approach Yi takes to his “aria” in the first movement of Matheson’s quartet.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts was so pleased with Color Field's talent and professionalism during their first performances in Samueli Theater that he invited Color Field to open Segerstrom's chamber music series in the 2018 season.
The James Matheson String Quartet was commissioned by J and Helen Schlichting. Here are J’s thoughts on the magic of this collaboration with Baird and with Jim:
“Although this recording celebrates the wonderful music of James Matheson, Baird Dodge was the secret force that enabled the whole enterprise to reach fruition. The Violin Concerto was written for him. He played the premiere performance that is memorialized here. A streamed recording of that performance that was briefly available on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website was what convinced me to pursue Jim for our first commissioning project. Baird is a key player in Color Field, the wonderful quartet who perform Jim's piece brilliantly in this recording. Baird and I enjoy the serendipity involved in projects like this, the collision of happy and odd events, often over a long period of time, that magically result in a wonderful work of art. But serendipity by itself is not enough. A 'special sauce' is needed to bring it all together. From my view, Baird is just that. Thank you, Baird.”
Photo: Cooper Bates