"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

Blogs I Like

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I’ve begun working on an orchestra piece, slated for a premiere in Italy this summer, called Memory Palace. More about the title and structure later, which are actually quite interesting and challenging. Right now I have to report on an odd tidbit, at least very odd for me: although the music starts off with a wild flurry of activity, thirty-one measures go by – more than a minute – before there is anything that could traditionally be called a dissonance. Easily a couple thousand notes fly by, but each of them is a member of one of many discrete triads, although at that speed they seem to blur into one another.

And here I can note that special feeling as one embarks on yet another large work – an exhilaration that lurches from ecstasy to madness, sometimes in the same heartbeat. The opening figures of Memory Palace are always in the forefront of my mind, making even the simplest conversation difficult.

“hey how ya doing?”

“dadalee-dadala-didididli-daI’m doing okaydadale-dadala how about you?”

I get funny looks from everyone except for my two-year-old, who, unfortunately for him, has no reason to think my communication skills are less than stellar.

There is also, jittering under every activity of the day, the relentless urge to Get Back To Work on the piece, which can make me unsettling company. I know others sense that I’m not really with them; whatever they are saying to me is like distracting background music. The sounds in my head are much more present than anything in front of my eyes -- at times like these it’s all I can do to push what I’m hearing down below see level.

It’s a delirious feeling – what I live for, and yet there is hardly anything else that causes me so much discomfort. And the oddest part is knowing that the thing I cannot get out of my mind is something nobody else has heard. In a way, that’s the underlying reason for having to keep working on it – to get it out of my head and into someone else’s, so I can regain a modicum of normalcy in my life.

That is, until the next delirium overtakes me.