"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.

Visit Lawrence Dillon's Web Site

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Friday, March 18, 2005
Notes From Another Ground

This post is a bit of an experiment, to see if what I am sending from St. Pete's will transmit safely back home. I'm borrowing my title from Dostoevski's novel Notes from Underground that serves as both an ode to this city and a celebration of self-loathing on a level that is truly stupefying, and instructive to the general civic character.

I've had many adventures to recount in two days here, some of which will be of great interest to readers of Sequenza21. But let me begin by setting the location.

Physical: St. Petersburg is on the Northern European Plain, at the end of the Gulf of Finland, on a latitude with Oslo, Norway and Anchorage, Alaska. Yes, it's cold. In my very thorough preparations for this trip, somehow I forgot to bring gloves.

Historic: This city was Tsar Peter the Great's gift to Russia 300 years ago: a dose of European sophistication for his ignorant peasants. Dostoevsky called it "the most abstract and premeditated city on the whole earth." He should have known, having spent his entire adult life here, except for a few years in Siberia for offending the Tsar's sense of propriety. The city blossomed in the 19th century, then morphed into Leningrad, Petrograd and back to St. Petersburg in the 20th, with a level of neglect that is difficult for Americans to imagine. But the 300th anniversary celebration last year brought many improvements, or so I'm told.

Cultural: St. Pete is dominated by three very conservative cultural institutions, The Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire, the Hermitage Museum and Music Academy, and the Kirov Ballet. More on each of these in posts to come.

So that's a brief encapsulation. As I have time, I will report further on a fascinating composers seminar, orchestra rehearsal standards, and other observations from the other side.