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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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Trepidations

Iím off to Greenville, North Carolina today for the premiere of my third string quartet tomorrow night. It will be repeated here on Sunday. The performers are topnotch, but not a regular quartet: Ara Gregorian (director of the Four Seasons Chamber Festival), Ivan Chan (of the Miami String Quartet), Ulrich Eichenauer (former principal viola of the Dresden Phil and member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet) and Michael Kannen (formerly of the Brentano Quartet). They began rehearsing the piece on Tuesday. Tonight I will hear it for the first time in Ė hereís the catch Ė an open rehearsal. Not used to having my first rehearsal with an ensemble in front of an audience. Could be pretty interesting.

Iím a bit concerned that this quartet is one of those pieces that looks a lot easier on the page than it actually is. Part of me trusts in the tremendous skills and experience of the performers involved, and part of me is worried that they will just be doing everything they can to hold it together. If so, will I be able to help them? Will the open rehearsal audience be understanding if things arenít proceeding smoothly? An additional twist is the fact that I only know one of the players, Iíll be meeting the other three for the first time at the rehearsal. Does it seem strange that I find that awkward? It's so hard for me to establish an effective musical communication instantaneously.

With anything like this, there is always the good chance Iíll end up making a complete ass of myself, which may be more entertaining for the audience than if things proceeded without a hitch. Iíll let you know how it goes when I return.

And if I donít let you know how it went, Iím sure youíll understand.