"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, December 16, 2005
What's New?

My wife and I have made friends with an Austrian archeologist, taking her to some of the many concerts we attend.

She confessed recently that she was having to revise her opinion of new music, which she thought she didn’t like, because now she’s heard a number of new pieces that she liked a lot.

My wife asked her what new music she didn’t like.

“Well, you know, Arnold Schoenberg.”

“But Schoenberg’s not new – he is over 130 years old!”

“Well, I guess I never got past him.”

This speaks to some of the recent commentary on the S21 front page – the assumption that new has to mean “way out there,” when new should more logically mean “as close to who we are at this moment as possible.”

I love Schoenberg’s music, but I don’t ever experience it as sounding new – it sounds completely of its time and place, which is very different from the time and place I live in. Same is true of 1950s aleatoricism, 1970s minimalism, 1990s hip-hop.

It’s difficult to have perspective on what is old and what is new in music for some reason, so for kicks I like to compare it to film. Schoenberg is older than Charlie Chaplin. Does anyone consider Chaplin new?