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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Monday, August 27, 2007
Working out the details

Iím coming down the home stretch with Dark Circles, which Iíve written about here.

As I do my final revisions, I find myself thinking through the music in four different ways:
  1. Look at page, listen to midi
  2. Play the music on the piano
  3. Look at page, imagine music
  4. Close eyes, imagine music
Way one is the easiest, and consequently the most seductive: with the least amount of effort, I can make substantial progress in the piece. Way two is a little more challenging, circumscribed somewhat by my technical limitations at the piano. But in some ways the piano is more familiar to me than the English language, so meandering through on the keyboard helps me discover things about the music I might not have found otherwise.

Way three is even more challenging, and much more revealing: thatís when I really hear the weak spots (I like to think that my pieces are only as good as their weakest moments) and I can zoom in and correct them.

And way four? By far the most delightful. Way four is when I have the most Aha! moments, the times when I realize exactly what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. Of course, way four requires the most concentration, the most effort. But it really is the most rewarding, in terms of psychic satisfaction.

The pieces I am least satisfied with are the ones I spent the least time simply imagining, with no page, screen or keyboard in front of me.