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, September 21, 2006
Emerson minus one

Lawrence Dutton, violist of the Emerson String Quartet, had rotator cuff surgery this summer, so the quartet has revised its fall concert programs to perform with various pianists who have been kind enough to step up on short notice.

They were here the other night with Menahem Pressler for a fantastic program in Brendel Hall Ė Mozartís Eb Major Divertimento and Brahmsís G Minor Piano Quartet. The Mozart is a divertimento in name and form only Ė itís really more of a profound, unaccompanied triple concerto. The piano quartet is one of Brahmsís most instantly loveable works from first bar to last.

Cellist David Finckel landed in the airport at about a quarter to eleven in the morning, raced off in a rental car to a 12:00 rehearsal, spent the afternoon attending to various obligations, grabbed a 10-minute nap and walked out on stage to a packed house at 7:30 p.m. His performance, as always, was exquisite: every note, every phrase was juiced with implications and connections. We met briefly afterwards, talking about the concert, our kids, and the upcoming season at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which he runs with his wife Wu Han, and which opens tonight.

Iíve known David for over thirty years, since the summers I spent at the Vermont music camp run by his father, Edwin Finckel, who was my first composition teacher. Itís always a pleasure to see him and to hear him perform, but I was also sorry to see how exhausted he was. After the concert, he was ready to collapse, which was a good thing, since he had a 7:00 a.m. flight the next morning.

Music is a sublime art form, but it can be a hellish profession.