Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


"Students stand next to a giant mural of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at their school in Manila."

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Carl (and Marilyn),

I think in offering thanks and appreciation for other things to both of the performers, I neglected to say how much I appreciated the program itself, particularly the recent composition (Marne) and of course the Piazzolla, which drew me in the door in the first place!  Really appreciated the passion of the musicians for the music and for offering it to the lucky audience in an intimate venue at low cost and with great hospitality (gorgeous fireplace upstairs, BTW).

Count me a regular member or future audiences!


James and I will be back for this.  Check will be in the mail.  Wonderful evening last night—enjoyed it from beginning to end! Many thanks to you and Marilyn

Sue—and James!

Hi, Carl and Marilyn,

That was a wonderful concert and evening again last night.  Thank you.

Julie, Zak and I LOVE your concerts. Can I score 10 tickets for March 8?



Carl -- Marilyn -- Sat night was spectacular... really a
wonderful concert and fine mix of people in your warm,
lovely home... 
Hugs, Many thanks --
M (and H)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Something new

Bookmark this:

Robert Walser on Ash

From W. G. Sebald in the New Yorker:

“Indeed,” Walser writes about ash, “if one goes into this apparently uninteresting subject in any depth there is quite a lot to be said about it which is not at all uninteresting; if, for example, one blows on ash it displays not the least reluctance to fly off instantly in all directions. Ash is submissiveness, worthlessness, irrelevance itself, and best of all, it is itself pervaded by the belief that it is fit for nothing. Is it possible to be more helpless, more impotent, and more wretched than ash? Not very easily. Could anything be more compliant and more tolerant? Hardly. Ash has no notion of character and is further from any kind of wood than dejection is from exhilaration. Where there is ash there is actually nothing at all. Tread on ash, and you will barely notice that you have stepped on anything."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Charley Gerard's String Quartets

From Charley:

My music is nearly always jazz-based, so I certainly don't mind having my string quartet music identified that way. But there is more to them than "just jazz!" String Quartet no. 3 is subtitled In Memory of Don Schott. Don was my lifelong friend and a super-talented drummer who I enjoyed playing with informally for nearly a decade before he died of lung cancer. Don had problems with drugs and alcohol, but his major demon was bipolar disease. After being hospitalized for a manic episode he had to be re-hospitalized to detoxed from alcohol. He woke up in his hospital room one night and realized that he had no interest in getting high ever again. He attended AA meetings regularly and, like most ex-alcoholics, he was a chain-smoker. Several years before he died, he managed with great difficulty to stop smoking. Alas, it was too late. Two years after he stopped smoking, he was diagnoxed with lung cancer. Two years after the diagnosis, Don died at the age of 61.
The movements in String Quartet no. 3 consist of music Don and I played together as well as music that Don enjoyed playing on his second instrument, the saxophone.

“Death and the Flowers” consists of 3 movements, each named after flowers that are poisonous or, in the case of Columbine, associated with death. As you probably remember, Columbine was the site of one of the first school killings. This music has a tragic side that rarely comes out in my other pieces. Jazz-based? Yes, I suppose so, although there are other influences as well.

Violinists Andrea Vercoe, Sally McLain and cellist Jodi Beder have performed in Washington Musica Viva concerts over the last decade as well as in many Washington ensembles, while violist Karl Mitze is a newcomer. I hope you can come and join me for the premiere performances of these works for string quartets. I never thought I'd ever hear them! 

My son Dr. Adriel Gerard and his wife Caroline Hagood along with Washington Musica Viva are producing the concert.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Today's Zippy:

(Click on strip)

Sunday, January 26, 2014


"It’s possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they’d never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn’t even try for change.

But it’s more likely they merely allowed all this to unfold, like a giant wet blanket over the outrage and indignation most Americans feel but don’t express.

Change is coming anyway. We cannot abide an ever-greater share of the nation’s income and wealth going to the top while median household incomes continue to drop, one out of five of our children living in dire poverty, and big money taking over our democracy.

At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.

Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter."

(From Robert Reich: "Why There's No Outcry")

Friday, January 03, 2014

Flying Fish Dream

From 2013 journal:

Dream: Flying fish, hundreds jumping over water at dusk, about a foot high. I am swimming towards them, but don't want to get too close for fear of being bitten. My old amp is plugged in on a small island, and stacks of music scores are on another. I think I will have to pick them up later by boat.

This is sorrow.

The impulse to go forward, maybe in jumps.

Trills are birds.

Listen with your heart and it's always right there.

Project: "Loneliness" in real time.

The discipline of trying to get back to the view and vision of the child we were.

To be influenced; to influence.

Become the thing you want to have in your life.

What a privilege to be alive and creative in the digital age.

Futile resolution: never to read the news again.

We've struck it rich.

Dream: Music-related murders in North Korea.

Being ungrateful to the food you just ate is a sin.

All things are possible through love.

As we age, it becomes increasingly weird to be a human - we can imagine alternatives with less difficulty. Life as a person begins to take on a strange aura.

If opinion makers are in collusion with business…
If the academy has influence with the venues and contempt for the public…
If artists have vested their legitimacy in powerful representatives of the academy or commerce…

Why does this matter? The impoverishment of the public imagination, including children, results from the suppression of authentic expression.

As the church and true religion, so the art business and art.

If anything is resisted, it pushes back (Newton). One must devote one's life, otherwise it is not enough. And the smallest of victories is the most to be hoped.

Good faith, good will. Thy rod and thy staff  (thy crickets and hums…) - they comfort me.

One meditates to contact the nothingness in which you exist, to know the foreground and background. The noise of the engine, the chaotic cement in the sidewalk, framing life and love as precious exceptions.

If loyalty means not to love, count me out.

In collaboration, don't suck up to partners; let them be, and be responsive when appropriate, or ignore them; but stay true to your own self.

Black capped chickadee; house finch; purple finch; wren.