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, March 18, 2009
Making it there

Iíve been spending a lot more time in New York lately. With all the things that city has meant to me over the years, I seem to understand it less and less.

I grew up twenty minutes on the other side of the Hudson; trips under and over the river were frequent. It was a childís fairyland, and an adolescentís getaway. In my twenties, it became my home. Now it is my puzzle.

Did I say puzzle? Over the last twenty years, itís become a place I visit, usually for a couple of days at a time. As with any place one has lived and returned to, it is at once familiar and perplexing. My sense of pacing, as I walk the streets Ė something Iím always very sensitive to Ė is just a bit off, where it was once flawless.

Oddly enough, the people look the same to me -- but the surfaces have changed frequently and drastically over the years.

Yet one might say that the surfaces of New York are more important than they are elsewhere. Or rather, the way the surfaces change is one of the cityís consistencies. Virtually every surface you encounter is artificial. In some cases this changeability is awkward and embarrassing, like an old man who dresses in the latest fashions to impress a young date. The result is neither fashionable nor deserving of respect.

But more often than not, the changes are just what they are Ė nothing more nor less than an facade that people are working around the clock to improve -- or at least change. The rhythms of those changes donít necessarily satisfy anyone Ė one must accept them at their own pace, rather than expecting them to follow a natural sense of propriety.

A lot of these thoughts struck me on a recent visit to the new Alice Tully Hall. It never occurred to me, visiting as a child, and later practically living there as a grad student (in addition to my studies, I was working nights at the Met), that Lincoln Center was a collection of very new buildings Ė I didnít have a context extensive enough to assign them a sense of age, though I knew exactly when they were built. Yet now, as the buildings are looking unmistakably old, I can see that they were pretty spanking new when I was a frequent inhabitant.

Always nice to see you, New York Ė though more and more confounding with each passing year.