"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.

Visit Lawrence Dillon's Web Site

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
This Immortal Sol

Here’s my second annual rant about children’s music, a topic I find constantly confounding. Last year I was befuddled by “Bingo.” This year, “Do a Deer” has my head unhinged.

Forget for a moment the unlikelihood of a family learning solfege in 1930s Austria. Maybe Sister Maria had an Italian or French music teacher, for all I know.

Forget about Si replaced with Ti as the leading tone – maybe she had a British nanny.

What I want to know is why Hammerstein couldn’t come up with a rhyme for “Sol, the Bottom of My Shoe,” or “Sol, a Slice of Fish Filet.” Instead, what do we get? “Sol, a Needle Pulling Thread.” That’s just lousy diction.

But wait a minute: maybe Hammerstein was making fun of amateur music-teachers. Or singers who can’t produce clear consonants, for whom there is no functional difference between sol and sew.

But I suppose that may be a little fa-fetched.