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, October 07, 2006
Backing up the Filing Cabinet

I started using notation software in 1990. For years, I kept backup copies of all my pieces on diskettes. As time went on, these diskettes were capable of holding more and more information, but they hit a ceiling around the end of the decade. Over the first few years of this century, they were phased out, replaced by CDs.

Since I spend much more time with my head buried in sixteenth notes than I spend keeping up with technological shifts, this change caught me by surprise. I saw the CDs becoming more prevalent, but it didnít occur to me that diskettes would disappear as quickly as they did. I got two different disk drives to help me get through the transition, but now even those no longer work with current operating systems. As a result, a handful of the pieces I wrote in the 1990s no longer exist Ė I printed most of them, but not all.

Which is okay Ė the ones I didnít print probably werenít worth the trouble. I donít find it difficult to move on Ė Iíve got a lot of new music I want to write. And now my living quarters are more spacious than ten years ago, so Iím able to print everything.

CDs hold a lot more information than diskettes. I could barely fit a large work on a single diskette; I can fit 50 of them on a CD. But I hate backing up files on CD, because I canít get the rewriteable ones to actually rewrite, so when I revise a piece I have to toss the disk Iíve saved it on. Then sometimes I just want to back up one piece, and it seems a waste to burn a CD for something so small, since it just gets tossed when I make revisions.

Has anyone found a good solution to backing up notation files? If so, Iím all ear. Iíd like to be able to keep copies I can make little revisions to from time to time. And Iím on a Mac OS 10.3.9, if that clarifies.