"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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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All art hovers between experience and imagination.

Each artwork must find its own balance between the familiar and the unexpected, between who we are and what we aspire to be. There is no formula for this balance – indeed, the balance can and does vary from work to work within the same artist’s oeuvre.

I was reminded of that maxim when a friend recently complained to me of a new piece that he thought was too “European-sounding.”

The only way, I believe, a piece can be too “anything-sounding” is if that “anything” does not exist in the universe or in the subconscious.

Europe is most definitely in the universe, and its impact on the imaginations of many of the world’s artists, for good and for bad, is undeniable. Repressing that influence is a choice that many artworks may make with impunity, but an outright rejection of the truth of that influence for any artist who has felt it, either through the soles of the feet or the synapses of the mind, is unseemly, unnecessary, and just plain counterproductive.