"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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Saturday, October 29, 2005
Arnold's Back

On Saturday, NCSA’s chamber orchestra, Solisti Symphony, gave a solid performance here of Arnold Schoenberg’s Kammersymphonie No. 1.

A century has gone by since the premiere of this piece, but it remains as freshly challenging for new listeners as ever. As is frequently true with Schoenberg’s works, the problem is not dissonance – harsher dissonances than he ever used have long been commonplace in film music -- it’s the density of ideas that can be overwhelming.

What can we say about a piece that has more changes of direction in the first 16 bars than most previous composers put in an entire piece? The audacity is astounding. The music, though never quite incoherent, is hectic as all hell. Themes surface with a quick nod and submerge back into the constantly shifting texture.

Even if you don’t consider the piece an unqualified success, you have to tip your cap that level of innovation, or bullheadedness, or whatever you may wish to call it.