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, September 28, 2007
Sincere Yet Dishonest

I heard a piece the other day that was sincere but dishonest.

Does anybody know what I mean by that? I run into these pieces from time to time. They are the ones in which I can hear the composer thinking, ďhere Iíll show them how soulful I am, then Iíll give them an exciting outburst of loud crashes and bangs, and Iíll finish up with this wham-bang that will bring them to their feet with a rousing cheer.Ē

Why do I call that sincere but dishonest? Because I really believe that many of these composers have no idea how calculating and dishonest their music sounds. They sincerely believe, in their heart of hearts, that they are composing meaningful works of art. The problem isnít that they are being dishonest with us, itís that they are being dishonest with themselves. They arenít in touch with who they really are, just with what they want us to think of them.

Of course, there have been many insincere dishonest works throughout the ages, and some of them are truly great pieces Ė for example, when a composer churns out something to pay the bills, or to satisfy the kingís ego, or to stay out of prison. Itís amazing how many absolutely brilliant works have been created under circumstances in which the composer was covering up true feelings.

But hiding how you really feel is different from not knowing who you are.