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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Thursday, June 05, 2008
Seven Beginnings

Iíve begun work on Blossom this week, and Iím beginning in a way that is a bit unusual for me. But then, I usually begin each piece in a way that is somehow a departure, because I want to believe, at least, that I have many ways of writing music, not just one.

In any case, with this piece, I am taking the first half-hour of my composing time each day this week to draft the first minute. After one minute is drafted, I stop, and move on to other projects. The next day, I start over, without referring to my previous draft, working out anew the shape of the first minute of this 6-8 minute piece.

At the end of the week, Iíll collect my seven drafts and compare them. They will be fairly similar Ė maybe one or two of them will be drastically different. Hopefully there will be certain traits common to all seven. These recurring traits will be the fundamental forces, the cornerstones, that shape the piece. Then there will be little ideas that only show up once, but may have just the right quirkiness to make the piece come alive.

Next week, Iíll pounce on the quirks.