"There are no two points so distant from one another that they cannot be connected by a single straight line -- and an infinite number of curves."

Composer Lawrence Dillon has produced an extensive body of work, from brief solo pieces to a full-length opera. Three disks of his music are due out in 2010 on the Bridge, Albany and Naxos labels. In the past year, he has had commissions from the Emerson String Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Mansfield Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, the Salt Lake City Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, the Daedalus String Quartet, the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the University of Utah and the Idyllwild Symphony Orchestra.

Although he lost 50% of his hearing in a childhood illness, Dillon began composing as soon as he started piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1985, he became the youngest composer to earn a doctorate at The Juilliard School, and was shortly thereafter appointed to the Juilliard faculty. Dillon is now Composer in Residence at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served as Music Director of the Contemporary Ensemble, Assistant Dean of Performance, and Interim Dean of the School of Music. He was the Featured American Composer in the February 2006 issue of Chamber Music magazine.

Visit Lawrence Dillon's Web Site

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Saturday, March 19, 2005
Notes Part 4: Rehearsal

Jeff warned me that I would be surprised by St. Petersburg's low standards with regard to ensemble playing, from students at the Conservatoire to the Kirov Orchestra under Gergiev. Unfortunately, the second rehearsal (I skipped the first) of Amadeus ex machina proved him right. Despite his best efforts to get them to cohere, the musicians seemed perfectly willing to accept sloppy attacks that would never be tolerated in an American ensemble. It's very difficult to explain: it's not that they are poor musicians -- far from it -- but this is an aspect of their training that has clearly been neglected. One would almost think that they prefer the blurred effect they were getting to the clarity of ensemble playing prized by American orchestras.

This flies delightfully in the face of the conventional wisdoms I was raised on, where Russians are highly disciplined cogs in a machine and Americans are freedom-loving nonconformists.

Amadeus ex machina will suffer with this lack of precision, but there are two more rehearsals, so I still have hopes that progress can be made before Sunday.