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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Saturday, February 26, 2005
Music Criticism

The credibility of composers who also serve as critics has often been questioned. There is a pretty fine article on the topic in NewMusicBox this month by Joshua Kosman. The argument goes something like this: Composers have artistic and professional agendas that limit their ability to listen objectively.

I find this line of argument entirely persuasive. A composer invests a tremendous amount of time and energy in pursuing a specific artistic vision, which is bound to leave blind spots where other artistic visions might be found.

On the other hand, composers have valuable perspectives on the experience of music, being involved on the ground floor, so to speak. Their viewpoints, though they may be biased, can be very insightful.

The most questionable practice is the composer who conducts the premiere of a new work, then reviews the concert. Certainly a composer describing his/her own piece and performance cannot be trusted at all.

On the other hand, if you know the reviewer has such an intimate involvement with the material being reviewed, then you certainly donít have to fear a hidden agenda: The review is bound to be intensely subjective, with all of the benefits and drawbacks that implies.

So watch for a review of the premiere of Revenant on this page in the coming days. I will do my best to make it pan-jective (combining the best of sub- and ob-).

And you can read it with a grain of salt.