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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Friday, January 05, 2007
Setting

At this point in my life, composing requires solitude, silence, space. The daily journey, strung out through a lifetime, to tap into the sounds that flicker around the edge of my consciousness calls for a dedication that is difficult to obtain in an environment with too many distractions. Most of my adult life Iíve been trying to establish the ideal setting in which to compose -- no easy task, unless one is willing to forego much else that life offers.

My dream studio would have a piano, a computer, a not-too-comfortable chair, a lushly comfortable sofa, and a pervasive quietude.

I lived alone from 1995-2003, coming very close to my ideal composition setting, though living in somewhat cramped quarters. Now my living circumstances are much more comfortable, but my composing space is no longer my sole province: it is primarily my space, but also shared with loved ones. Fortunately, these loved ones are respectful of my needs, so all I have to do is gently express those needs and the space is all mine, for as long as I require.

But ultimately I insist from myself the discipline and focus to be able to compose under any circumstances. This insistence dates back to my graduate days, living in a cramped, noisy studio apartment in Brooklyn, working three part-time jobs and commuting on weekends to Connecticut for a long-distance romance. How to fit composing into that lifestyle? Dreaming about an ideal creative setting was definitely not the answer. I just had to train myself to shut out distractions, to establish a creative flow that was capable of feeding itself, without outside nurturance. Composing on a bus, on a subway, in the middle of the night Ė it didnít matter, I couldnít allow it to matter, or my work would come to a halt.

So now I am immensely grateful for the comfortable and supportive environment I have for composing, and Iím taking advantage of it to as full a degree as possible.

But I like to believe I could maintain my workflow even if I lost these near-ideal circumstances.

Still looking for that sofa, though.