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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Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Stealing recipes

Thereís a certain kind of concert that can have a bracing place in the new music world. Iím thinking of the performance organized by and for composers, for which the audience is primarily composers and their friends (sometimes I wonder how composers ever find the time or the social skills to make friends, but it does happen). These sparsely attended performances can be wonderful opportunities to try out ideas that may not be ready for general consumption.

Need I add that many of these performances take place in university or conservatory environs? Need I also add that they can occasionally become toxic events, fostering in-bred, mutual-admiration societies, or vicious, politicized back-stabbing?

Such is not always the case but, as in any arena, good intentions have the potential to turn sour. Thankfully, Iíve had more experience with the beneficial aspects of these performances, and just enough of a taste of the negatives to keep me cautious.

Iím reminded of a comment one of my teachers, James Sellars, made years ago. He compared these concerts to the bake sales his aunts had when he was growing up in Arkansas. ďComposers come to these concerts to see what everyone else is putting in their pies this year,Ē he chortled.