"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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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Last Friday, Jennifer Higdon met with our composition students. Interesting person; interesting career. She has led, by her own assertion, a charmed professional life, being in the right place at the right time on several occasions. Her music is very direct, ingratiating, and well conceived.

When we have guest composers, I like to let them talk about whatever they wish Ė their own music, artistic issues, creative process, whatever. Every guest has something valuable to offer. Jennifer played and talked about a movement from her piano trio and her entire (one-movement) percussion concerto. But the majority of the session seemed to focus on professional development, which I donít believe had ever happened with a guest composer here before. She had a lot of great suggestions for our students, tips on entering competitions, getting commissions, self-publishing. They ate it up, asking questions and taking notes.

She is certainly a pleasant, unpretentious individual, with a charming disposition, a great sense of humor and a wide-eyed enthusiasm that I canít help finding infectious.