Gerlüz was no Hans Brinker... When he was eleven he broke both of his legs in an ice skating accident. His parents were so destitute they could not afford to keep their house heated during the cold winter days, so every morning on his way to work his father would carry him to the village church and set him down in the chapels only chair... the one in front of the piano.
The tiny town Gerlüz grew up in was so poor that the small church had no pews. The congregation had been saving a long time to buy some. Finally, when they had accumulated enough money one member of the congregation spoke up: “With all of this money we could also buy a piano and have music!” The members of the congregation looked back and forth at each other. Someone else spoke out. “Music, yes music would be good, we could even have dance.” These turned out to be powerful words. The congregation decided their interests would be better served by music from a piano than from having more places to rest their posteriors. Ten years later they still stood during prayer and the piano stood proudly in its corner and before the piano sat the only chair, for while you can pray when standing, you have to sit to play the piano.
It was on this very chair Gerlüz’s father placed him. During the long days of recovery he began experimenting with the piano; tentatively touching the keys, discovering they made tones and how the tones fit together in so many different ways. In the six months of his recovery he taught himself to play piano and began playing for the community.
No one had ever played the piano so well before. To be honest, no one had ever played it. The tiny town was in such a backwater, no one had even heard piano music before. When they made the decision to buy the piano they had only heard about music. One of them had read that pianos can make music and in the city 200 miles away you could buy a piano. They didn't realize a piano had to be played and even though the nice sales man had given them an instruction book that was suposed to be helpful it was filled with lines and dots and strange, foreign words like “Andante” and “Fortissimo”.... no one could make sense of it.
So until Gerlüz had his accident, it had sat untouched in its corner.
It is quite likely that the first sounds produced by the young Gerlüz were far from what one might call musical, but they were, apparently, quite rhythmical so he was given encouragement and repaid their kindness & tolerance with years of the most wretched experimentation. But as long as he kept it rhythmical no one would complain because then they could "have dance."
When he was 17 both of Gerlüz’s parents were killed in a tragic donkey cart accident. Without family structure Gerlüz’s world collapsed. The landlord evicted him from his home. No one in the poverty-stricken town could afford an extra mouth to feed so he was forced to make his own way in the world. The only thing he wanted to do in the world was to play the piano and in his home town, there were no paying jobs for piano players. He wrapped his worldly belongings in a blanket and started to walk to the city where the piano came from. Surely, if they had pianos, they would need piano players.
In the city it was not as simple as he had hoped. Eventually, he was able to able to convince a kind-hearted madam to allow him to entertain the guests in her establishment. It was here his skills were polished. He was exposed to people who knew what music was supposed to sound like and his instruction began anew. The kindly innocence of the villagers was replaced by the worldly opinions of the denizens from the wearied and worn little brothel.
Though the criticism may have been harsh at first, Gerlüz expanded his repertoire, learned how to read music and became what he now calls “a real Piano player.” In the years since, Gerlüz has traveled throughout the E.U. playing in brothels & bars on what he refers to as “the slowest world tour in existence, now in it’s third decade.”
In 2005 his unscheduled tour jumped the Atlantic to the U.S. One of these days he may be playing near you!