"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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Saturday, January 22, 2005
Return to Reason

Just finished Stephen Toulmin’s remarkable book Return to Reason.


In it, he argues for a philosophy of balance between theory and observation, a balance he says existed until the mid-17th century, when rationalism began to hold sway. He makes a persuasive case with examples from all the disciplines, including music. Example, talking about early twentieth century V

...artists and scientists acted like bicyclists: they pedaled with confidence just so long as no one asked how they did it; but once they were asked how they avoided upsetting the machine, they lost their balance. Methods of representation and communication that had served well previously were challenged: more self-conscious techniques were needed, to avoid assumptions that were seemingly taken for granted in earlier language and literature, the fine arts and the sciences.

Wonderful observations, metaphors and turns of phrase abound. Gave me much to chew on in my own work.

Also reminded me of a great line from Joe Orton’s play What the Butler Saw: “You can't be a rationalist in an irrational world. It just isn't rational.”