Glasgow (Scotland, UK), 1950

James Dillon got his start in music by playing in traditional Scottish bagpipes ensembles and rock groups. He studied art and design at the University of Glasgow in 1968, the music of northern India at the University of Keele, then returned to London in 1970 to study music, acoustics and linguistics. He was largely self-taught in composition. After a first prize in composition at the Huddersfield Festival in 1978, the composer became known in 1982 with Who do you love and Parjanya-Vata, prize-winning work at the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis in Darmstadt. In 1986, he was invited to lecture at the state University of New York and was a part-time lecturer in composition at Goldsmiths’ College in London; he attended a summer internship at Ircam. His teaching activities continued: for ten years, he taught summer courses in Darmstadt (1982-1992); he assisted Brian Ferneyhough in Royaumont in 1996; he was regularly invited to teach around the world. since 2007, he has also held a position as a professor in composition at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where he currently resides. Dillon’s catalogue features an important scenic work dating from 2004, Philomela, for which he wrote the libretto himself, based on mythology. the composer describes this work as “music/theatre”, thus distinguishing it from opera or musical theatre. Dillon was also selected by BBC television and the Arts Council of England to create Temp’est (1994) for the series Sound of Film.

Translation: Oliver Haeffeley [iii-13]