"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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Sunday, May 04, 2008

A number of years ago, I found myself in a situation that called for legal advice. I met with an attorney and explained my situation. After listening in blank-faced silence, he launched into an incomprehensible response, full of jargony legalese. I tried to follow what he was saying for a couple of minutes, but it was impossible, so I stopped him and asked if he could please start over in plain English. He gave me a look of utter disdain, and in that moment, I thought, “Wow, is this the way my audiences feel when they hear my music? Are they trying to understand my ideas through a jargon that can only be grasped by taking years of music courses?” And I resolved never to let my language choices get in the way of the ideas I was trying to convey.

I went through a period of writing pieces in which I was absolutely clear about what I wanted to say, determined to find the simplest, most direct way to convey the central concept of a piece to an engaged listener. Although I’ve moved in many different directions since then, that motivation still has strong resonance for me.

I just have no desire to baffle anyone who wants to understand me.