Lawrence Dillon

“I think music should be fun, moving, mysterious, beautiful, funny, and frightening. I don’t expect it to be all of those things on the same CD, however. Nevertheless, this CD is all of those things and more, and even though I had never heard of Lawrence Dillon until this CD came in the mail, I now must number myself among his fans.” – Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

1 Entrance 11:17 (2007)
Cinny Strickland Graham, actor
Elizabeth Ransom, flute; Rebecca Nussbaum, alto flute;
Jacqui Carrasco, violin; Sheila Browne, viola; Allison Gagnon, piano

2 Still Point (text: Shona Simpson) 7:48 (2007)
Theodora Hanslowe, mezzo-soprano
Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
Thomas Sauer, piano

Appendage 31:54 (1993)
3 Appendage 4:57
4 Tes yeux 3:17
5 Warm eyes 4:36
6 Appendage 5:07
7 Recognition 7:15
8 Last lullabye 6:42
Lauren Flanigan, soprano
Stephen Williamson, clarinet; Taimur Sullivan, tenor saxophone;
Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Richard O’Neill, viola;

Clancy Newman, cello; Melvin Chen, piano;
Ransom Wilson, conductor

9 Exit 11:45 (2007)
Robert Beseda, actor
Taimur Sullivan, alto saxophone; Judith Saxton, trumpet;
Adele O’Dwyer, cello; Paul Sharpe, bass; Robert Rocco, piano


“Dillon, with his vivid imagination and his ear for vocal and instrumental color, seems to be a terrific composer.” – Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

Appendage and Other Stories is a collection of works by Lawrence Dillon that combine words and music. Entrance and Exit use spoken text, Still Point is sung and Appendage alternates between spoken and sung text.

Entrance and Exit (2007)

Entrance and Exit are framing pieces for a chamber concert. Entrance is about layers of memory and connections to the past: a story unfolds about a listener whose mind wanders away from the music and drifts back to another time and place. Her recollections of that other world are influenced by the music she is hearing, and, in turn, the music responds to the journey of her imagination.

Exit is an exuberant spin through an entire life cycle, foretelling the future as a metaphorical journey from birth to death and beyond.

In both pieces, the text and music are held together through a complex system of cross-cueing between the actor and musicians.

Still Point (2007)

Still Point was commissioned by poet Shona Simpson to celebrate her husband Jonathan Burdette’s birthday. It scores Simpson’s tender sonnet for mezzo, viola and piano.

The days rush by in fleets like drifts of clouds.
We mean to note them, find their shapes or plot
their known locations, call their names out loud,
but they are here before we know they’re not.

A flock of starlings wheels and turns and dives
as one, the individual birds suppressed
by boundless number; seamlessly they fly
till darkness forces them, like us, to rest.

I’ve heard that when you die your brain reviews
your life, and pauses on the scenes that mean
the most. But what if days, like clouds, refuse
to stop? Like starlings, won’t alight, be seen?

I seek the one still point in all the roiling air.
I close my eyes, and you are there.

Still Point was premiered on a concert series hosted in the Simpson-Burdette home.

Appendage (1993)

About Appendage, the composer writes:

In late 1992, I became so discouraged with slow progress on a piece I was sketching that I crumpled up my notes, tossed them down to the end of the piano, and began working on something else.

In the ensuing weeks, I found I couldn’t get the aborted sketch out of my head. I would frequently glance down to the end of the piano, where it lay in a disturbing heap, casting silent accusations of abandonment in my direction. Over time, it came to seem more and more like a living thing, and I found myself wondering how it would feel to be alive, yet unfinished — uncertain of ones identity, origin or purpose.

That experience led me to a new piece, Appendage, about just such an unfinished creature, striving to complete itself, to make itself lovely.

A song cycle in six consecutive sections, Appendage traces a fantastical journey from incoherence to a cautious self-awareness.

– notes by Jeffrey James

“If you have any interest in contemporary American chamber music, you really should hear Appendage and Other Stories.” – Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine