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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Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Mister Blister

A month ago, I wrote about Piotr Szewczykís Violin futura project, reporting that he had commissioned 15 composers to write one-minute pieces for solo violin, which he would perform as a group on a series of recitals. I responded to his request with a piece called Fifteen Minutes Ė a collection of fifteen one-minute works for violin. Piotr corrected me, pointing out that he had asked for a 2-3 minute piece. Embarrassed by my mistake, I responded the following week by writing Mister Blister, a 3-minute presto for solo violin.

On New Yearís Day, I sent off PDFs of Fifteen Minutes and Mister Blister. A few days later, I got this response:
Dear Lawrence,

Thank you very much for your 16 pieces!
Both pieces are terrific and I'd like to definitely perform the whole 15 Minutes set and Mister Blister in my program. I'm currently learning all pieces and will be making "first-draft" recordings in the next few weeks to get responses from all composers. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you again,
Sincerely,

Piotr
I hear many horror stories from composers about their dealings with clueless or malicious performers. I have to say Iíve been very fortunate in working with dedicated, curious, imaginative musicians pretty regularly. Sending the composer a rough-draft recording of a performance-in-progress is a new experience for me, though; Iím very impressed by Piotrís initiative. At this point, if Iím not mistaken (and I hardly trust myself after my last blunder), he has several performances lined up this spring at New World Symphony, with others to come at Spoleto, Tanglewood and elsewhere.

You can learn more about Piotr here.