Lawrence Dillon@Sequenza21.com

"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.


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Sunday, November 06, 2005
Monophonomania

For all of you stereophonic listeners out there, you donít know what youíre not missing.

Iím deaf in my left ear. Have been for as long as I can remember. I regard it as a social inconvenience more than a musical one Ė there have been times when Iíve discovered that people were upset with me because they thought I was snottily ignoring them, when I actually had no idea they were speaking to me. Might be a good idea to hang a sign from my earlobe, or better yet a tattoo that says, ďmeet me on the other side.Ē

When I was a kid, oneearedness gave me a great way to drift off during a boring class: I would put my right elbow on the desk, cover my good ear with my palm, and affect a look of deep concentration while spinning my thoughts out the window. I sometimes do the same thing in committee meetings to this day.

Biggest aggravation: someone in the room talking to me while Iím on the phone.

Us monophonics feel an instant kinship. When I first met Marcy Rosen, the cellist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, we were attempting to have a conversation with one another while walking across a parking lot, but we kept circling each other, trying to get on our good sides, before we finally realized we were both trying to solve the same problem. We became fast confidants after that. But now, whenever we have a conversation, one of us has to walk backwards.

(When the Mendelssohn was first looking for a name for their group, one of the proposals was Four Scores and Seven Ears.)

One-eared wonders canít locate sound. When a lot of people are talking in a large room, I have a helluva time trying to make out anything specific. I often give up and assume a vacant smile, as if I know whatís going on. I usually come across as either tremendously wise or incredibly dense.

The biggest musical problem for a solo auricle is dealing with headphones. Iíve always mistrusted them, because I know while one side is communicating just fine, the other side is just talking to a wall. So, no thanks to Walkman or Ipod Ė Iím not even that crazy about speakers, which have all the musical presence of a sofa. I prefer my music live.

But Henry Brantís music? Fuggedaboutit.