"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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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This weekend we’ll have the Emerson String Quartet here. They’re playing two concerts, Friday night and Saturday afternoon, with two completely different programs. Each concert will have a newly commissioned work – one by Kaija Saariaho and one by Bright Sheng. Friday night’s program is nice enough – Schubert A Minor, Sheng “The Miraculous” and Brahms A Minor – but the killer program will be Saturday afternoon: Shostakovich 7th, Saariaho “Terra Memoria,” Bartók 3rd and Beethoven Op. 59, No. 3.

So far, I haven’t taken any heat for booking them into our 300-seat hall, rather than our two other options, which have 600 and 1200 seats. It was a tough call for me, because I knew we would have no trouble selling out the larger venues. But I also know the other two halls would have compromised the experience for both the quartet and the audience. Chamber music is an intimate artistic expression, more poetry than spectacle. Rather than looking for the most income I could generate from these concerts, or giving as many people as possible the ability to brag about having been there, I’m trying to make sure the experience is maximized for everyone who is there.

Like I said, I haven’t taken any heat for this decision yet – but I’m guessing that will change in the next few days.