<< -- 2 -- Carolyn Nott A HERMIT AT HEART
As Cultural Attaché at the Netherlands Embassy in London immediately after the war, Gerard was instrumental in arranging exchanges of musicians and art exhibitions, as well as setting up scholarships between England and Holland. This resulted in numerous performances in the Netherlands of music by Alan Rawsthorne (Gerard's lifelong close friend and mentor), Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett, among others, including the first post war performance of Tippett's A Child of our Time in Arnhem. Gerard himself conducted the first performance of Elizabeth Lutyens' Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra and her Viola Concerto with the Radio Philharmonic in Hilversum.
Gerard was very homesick for England after we moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and, to this day, he regards England as his true spiritual home. His only daughter Karen, by his first marriage to the violinist Vivien Hind, lives in the north of England with her artist husband and children, and runs a successful alternative medicine practice. California, on the other hand, instilled in us the feeling that anything was possible. We live perched on a promontory in the Hollywood Hills where Gerard likes being in a country setting among woods and wild animals, yet at the centre of a large, dynamic city. We regularly encounter coyotes, raccoons, possums, and snakes, as well as deer that canter violently past us chased by our dog. Most romantic of all are the red-tailed hawks, which circle and plummet into the valley between our hill and the next. Somewhat of a hermit at heart, Gerard enjoys the feeling of isolation, as long as it is tempered by occasional visits to festivals, orchestras, and universities.
With a body of work behind him before we left England, culminating in his Opera/Cantata Piers Plowman -- a commission from the Dutch Radio in Hilversum premièred at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester in August 1980 -- Gerard has produced a steady flow of compositions in California. He has a reputation for working slowly, but composition occupies his mind consciously or sub-consciously throughout the day, even -- I suspect -- when he is eating or watching his favourite British comedies on television!
Copyright © 19 January 2004
Carolyn Nott, Los Angeles, USA