"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 creates works that connect past and present in attractive and unexpected ways, provoking Gramophone to exclaim, “Each score is an arresting and appealing creation, full of fanciful and lyrical flourishes within traditional forms that are brightly tweaked." His music is characterized by a keen sensitivity to color, a mastery of form, and what the Louisville Courier-Journal has called a "compelling, innate soulfulness." Despite losing 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 immediately 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.
Dillon's music, in the words of American Record Guide, is "lovely...austere...vivid and impressive." Three recordings of his music were released in 2010-2011 on the Bridge, Albany and Naxos labels. His works have been commissioned and premiered in the last four seasons by the Emerson String Quartet, Le Train Bleu, the Ravinia Festival, the Daedalus String Quartet, the Lincoln Trio, the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Mansfield Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, Wintergreen Summer Arts Festival, the Salt Lake City Symphony, the Quartetto di Sassofoni d’Accademia, the University of Utah and the Idyllwild Symphony Orchestra.
In October 2010, Bridge Records released “Insects and Paper Airplanes,” a disk of Dillon’s chamber music featuring the Daedalus String Quartet and pianist Benjamin Hochman. Gramophone called it "highly recommended," saying, "Just when you thought the string quartet may have reached the edge of sonic possibilities, along comes a composer who makes something novel, whimsical and haunting of the genre."
Dillon’s recording “Appendage and Other Stories” made Fanfare Magazine’s 2010 Want List. Raymond Tuttle wrote of it, "This is a terrific work. In fact, it is so good it made me weep. And Dillon, with his vivid imagination and his ear for vocal and instrumental color, seems to be a terrific composer.”
In April 2011, Naxos released “Violin Music of Lawrence Dillon” featuring Sphinx Grand Prizewinner Danielle Belén. MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL described it as "an hour of music that is often profound without being pretentious, sometimes light-hearted but never 'lite', humorous without being arch, and immensely appealing but never frivolous."
Lawrence Dillon is represented by Jeffrey James Arts Consulting.
I’m headed back to Seattle this weekend for the premiere of Sanctuary by the Seattle Chamber Music Society. Here’s a bit about the piece:
Domed and Steepled Solitude
Scents and Recollection
A Reliable Pulse
A peaceful refuge, a shelter, a sanctuary: all creatures require an opportunity to retreat from oppressive forces, to find respite from the burdens and demands of life. Sanctuary explores four of these havens in four movements, all connecting the world in which we live to the world we imagine.
When Mark Twain first visited New York City, he spoke of a “domed and steepled solitude, where a stranger is lonely among a million of his race.” The first movement of Sanctuary pits overwhelming clamor against quiet introspection — the initial tempo indication is Tranquillo vs. furioso – gradually subsiding into gently rolling harmonies.
Many of us have felt the seductive nature of speed (the state of motion, not the amphetamine), whether found in running shoes, in the air, in amusement park rides, on the highways. Leaving the rest of the world in a blur enables us to find, if only briefly, a sense of repose and wonder. The second movement celebrates speed in a scherzo named for the conveyance favored by Mercury, the swift messenger god of ancient Rome.
Scents and Recollection traces the path from sensory experience to memory, so lovingly described by Proust in À la recherche du temps perdu. A single note blossoms into a many-voiced aria from a bygone era, leading to the peaceful, rocking harmonies that concluded the first movement.
All life ends, but life itself endures. As we ponder our individual fates, we can’t help but seek reassurance in the consistent rhythms coursing through the vessels of our mortality. A Reliable Pulse finds refuge from darkest fears in the steady but fragile patterns of life: a beating heart, an exuberant dance.
And here is the video SCMS has posted about the piece: