"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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Monday, September 19, 2005

Finally saw Rivers and Tides the other night. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing the creative process in action. For those who haven’t heard of it, Rivers and Tides is a documentary on the work of Andy Goldsworthy, a Scottish sculptor who works with the materials of nature – leaves, stone, ice, twigs, etc. He typically goes to a specific site, improvises various structures for a few days or weeks with whatever he finds there, then fixes on one element or combination of elements for a defining work.

In most of his pieces, he creates a design or structure that is deliberately fragile enough that nature will reclaim its materials – sometimes in a matter of minutes, sometimes over the course of months or years. Most of his works, therefore, change and decay over time, either quickly or gradually.

The fact that some of his most beautiful pieces were created for an audience of one is a firm rebuke to those who believe that great art must communicate with the multitudes.

Whether or not you appreciate his work, I recommend the film for several reasons. First, anyone who has devoted a life to art will identify with Goldsworthy’s feeble attempts to explain what he is doing – about 80% of what he says is unintelligible, but the other 20% is gold. Second, you will rarely see a more perfect wedding of material and form, which is always inspiring. The guy has an amazing sense of design and visual composition.

Finally, you should get the disk for Fred Frith’s attractive score, which, like the sculptures themselves, accomplishes much with minimal materials.