"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, February 24, 2006

My wife is a member of a local Toastmaster’s chapter, and recently served as an evaluator, critiquing other members’ speeches. She decided to approach the evaluations as if she were critiquing musical performances. She used musical terminology (explaining unfamiliar terms, of course) and held the speakers to the highest performance standards she would expect from professional musicians.

Her feedback was revelatory for the rest of the group. They hung on every word, because everything she was telling them made perfect sense, and because they had never thought about things in quite that way before.

We musicians can forget sometimes how astonishing our most basic skills are. Instead, we lament all the things music can’t accomplish compared to other art forms. We should take pride in the unique powers of music, our most elusive form of communication, that can only be experienced, not explained. What pursuit develops greater sensitivity to every gradation of sound, to the subtlest adjustments in the passage of time? The world has so much to learn from us! If only we could articulate our sensitivities more clearly, more often, more emphatically – and without apology.

A world of better listeners would certainly be an improvement, in every way.

Maybe we need to find a new name for ourselves besides Musicians, something that conveys the extraordinary powers we have developed, something with a mythical ring to it, a name that would command the highest cultural esteem.

The Guardians of Sound and Time?

Well, you get the idea.