"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, January 05, 2008
Parallel Bars

One of the greatest pleasures I find in writing multi-movement works is the opportunity to create formal parallelisms – corresponding passages that converse with one another across broad stretches of music. A nice recent example of this potential is Kyle Gann’s Sunken City, which contrasts two dramatically and subtly differentiated musics in its two movements. Compare the endings of the two movements: the first one ends with a knowing quip, the second with quiet gasp. What do these endings say to one another? What is the connection between them? What separates the wink from the sigh? These questions, and their answers, give me endless satisfaction.

In all of my multi-movement works, I carefully consider how formal parallels interact. Should all the endings be similar? Should I go for maximum contrast in my beginnings? Should there be a gradual development from first movement to last? These questions cannot be answered generically – like many life-choices, the answer is different in each instance.