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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Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Track Order

Just got a question from Danielle Belťn about her upcoming CD of my violin music: what order should the pieces be in?

Seven pieces, composed over the course of 25 years, ranging from 3 to 17 minutes in length. Two unaccompanied, three with piano, one with viola and one with marimba.

Of course, this doesnít matter quite as much as it used to Ė people just donít listen in prearranged orders so often anymore. But still, an order will exist, and as long as it exists it may as well have some intention to it.

In this case, chronological order doesnít make much sense, since only 3 of the pieces were written between 1983 and 2005 Ė the other 4 are from the last three years. Iím leaning toward breaking up the tracks that will include piano, and framing the disk with two brief -- but very different -- miniatures:
1. Mister Blister (2006) 3:00 unaccompanied
2. Facade (1983) 7:00 with piano
3. Bacchus Chaconne (1990) 5:00 with viola
4. Sonata: Motion (2008) 17:00 with piano
5. Spring passing (1997) 8:00 with piano
6. Fifteen Minutes (2006) 16:00 unaccompanied
7. The Voice (2008) 4:00 with piano
Mister Blister is fast and furious; The Voice is moderate and contemplative.

And now Iím realizing I never blogged about The Voice, which has kind of an interesting backstory. Itís an arrangement of an aria from an opera I wrote almost ten years ago. In the opera, a soprano is being pressured to sell out her art for commercial gain. She responds by trying to explain the peculiar relationship she has with her instrument Ė she is the servant, rather than the master:
The Voice
Within me
Has a life of its own.
It hovers in my heart,
It shivers in my bones.

A will of its own
Within me.
A turning, trembling tone
Tearing me in two,
Piercing my vision,
Decision,
My choice.

A soul of its own.

And when itís gone,
When itís done with me,
I am here,
I am alone:
a moist and
momentary home
for the Voice.