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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Monday, March 20, 2006
Conservatories

Composers frequently bemoan the fact that conservatories are slow to acknowledge innovation. We should try to get over that. They are conservatories, not exploratories. Asking a conservatory to produce new music is like asking a library to write books. Given their mission Ė to train musicians to perform increasing amounts of music at the highest level possible Ė itís amazing how up to date they can be.

So what can conservatories do for us? They can produce musicians in the future who will be equipped to perform our music when we are no longer around. Iím not saying they definitely will, but thatís their mission, thatís what they are designed to do. We have to accept the fact that they move incredibly slowly, but their mission is so daunting, that shouldnít be so much of a surprise.

Itís easy to look hungrily at institutions that produce vast quantities of musicians every year Ė seems like such a lost opportunity when you have trouble finding anyone to perform your latest magnum opus. But if we support the mission of these conservatories, gently prodding them in the right direction rather than wishing they would be something other than what they are, they should eventually catch up to us.

If we're worth catching up to.