"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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Saturday, November 22, 2008
Ray Anderson

We had jazz trombonist Ray Anderson here this week. I had heard a lot about him, so it was great to finally meet him. Very sweet man, very gifted musician.

In three days, he did a jazz workshop, a concert, two master classes and a few lessons. As Ron Rudkin, our jazz director said, Ray “was so dynamic on stage as a performer and soloist with the band that the whole crowd was fired up throughout his set - so much so that the audience demanded an encore, “St. Louis Blues,” which he then followed with a completely unplanned New Orleans march with the band playing a song he had taught them in a workshop … literally marching around the hall to the great delight of all in attendance. Mr. Anderson possesses a singularly transcendent spirit, which was in evidence to all the student musicians on the stage, as well as everyone in the audience.”

One standout moment among many: in the jazz workshop, he asked for three volunteers. He then told them to make up the absolutely worst music they could possibly produce, until he gave them a cutoff. The three students proceeded to emit ungodly squarks and woofs from their instruments. When he cut them off, Ray asked, “how did that feel?” “Liberating,” one of the students replied, and Ray proceeded to expound on the inner critic we all have telling us all the things we’re not supposed to do, and how good it is to banish that critic from time to time and just let things happen.

Good lesson for performers; good lesson for composers.