"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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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The ridiculously gifted Tim Fain was in residence here last week. Classes, lessons and coachings, culminating in a performance of Richard Danielpourís Violin Concerto with our orchestra.

Richard and I were classmates a quarter century ago. His music wasnít to my taste then, but there was no denying his ambition and talent. Over the intervening years, Iíve heard a few of his pieces. Some of them I found less than interesting, but others have been quite wonderful. This concerto, which is ten years old, definitely leans more to the latter.

One of the things that struck me as I was listening was the perfectly calibrated orchestration. This was a kind of orchestral mastery Ė not in any use of ingenious combinations or special tricks, but just the result of writing for orchestra often, hearing the results under optimal conditions, and shaping a clearly recognizable, personal voice despite the use of massive forces. He knew what he wanted and knew how to get it, and thatís more unusual than one would think.

Orchestration aside, Richard has always had a gift for expressive clarity. Thereís no mistaking what he wants to say. Thatís not so common as one would like Ė Iíve heard many pieces that try to say too much, or that undercut themselves with cross-purposes.

Not a problem for Danielpour. And thatís what I admire most about his work.