"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, February 10, 2007
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If you’re in Mansfield, Ohio tonight, stop by the Renaissance Performing Arts Center to hear the Mansfield Symphony perform my Wright Flight. If you can’t make it because you happen to be in southern Florida, please stop by the New World Symphony Forum Concert on Monday night to hear the premiere of my Mister Blister.

Then drop me a note to let me know how it went -- I’m pretty busy holding the fort down here.

J. D. McClatchy was our guest in Composition Seminar this week. McClatchy is undoubtedly the most successful librettist in America, having provided the books for eleven operas, including Picker’s Emmeline, Maazel’s 1984, Goldenthal’s Grendel and, by the way, Rorem’s Our Town. He also did the very successful English translation of Magic Flute that the Met produced this season.

We have all manner of musical guests in Composition Seminar, but we’ve never had a Pulitzer-nominated poet before. The fact that he has such wide-ranging experience with composers was an added bonus.

And what a fun guest – graciously opinionated, generously soliciting the students’ thoughts about text-setting, opera, poetry, etc. By chance, we have several composers here who frequently set their own texts (certainly an effective way to avoid copyright issues). When asked his opinion of this practice, he was encouraging, but he cautioned “composers tend to be, of all things, too wordy. Real writers know how to cut the fat out of their texts, giving you all of the essentials with the fewest syllables.”

Point duly noted.