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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Saturday, June 21, 2008
Finckel Quartet

I wrote the following in response to Jerry Bowlesís challenge to share the Best Live Performances Ever Attended. I have no idea what the best live performance Iíve attended was, so I switched the topic to Most Memorable. Iím reposting it here, because it was so nice to think back on the impact it had on me, over thirty years ago:
Most. Memorable. Performance. Ever.

Mid-70s at a small music camp in Vermont. A quartet of cellists: David Finckel, later of the Emerson Quartet, his cousins Michael and Chris Finckel, both later to become big in NYC new music circles, and Michael and Chrisís father George. The piece was by Michael, for four cellos and narrator. The narration was written for an elderly man we were told was once a fine baritone, but he had had a stroke that left his speech almost indecipherably garbled. I believe he told an old Native American legend, but I may be wrong about that Ė it was difficult to understand what he was saying. The sound of the English language tortured almost beyond recognition by a man who was doing his damnedest to be as clear as possible was terrifying, beautiful, truly stunning. The cellos imitated his monstrous wailing with overlapping glissandos and bent tones. At the end, all four cellists played their open C strings, gradually turning the tuning pegs down Ė a slowly blurring tone cluster, descending into inaudibility.

As children, we quickly realize that music speaks to us like nothing else can.

Then, every once in a while, you hear a piece that speaks to you as no other music can.