Charles Shere: Résumé
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McFarlin portrait of Charles Shere Born August 20, 1935, Berkeley, CA.

Education: Attended public elementary schools in Berkeley and Richmond, California; Welch, Oklahoma; and Sonoma County, California. Graduated Analy Union High School, Sebastopol, CA, June 1952. Attended Chapman College, Los Angeles (music major); Santa Rosa Jr. College; San Francisco State College; University of California at Berkeley, graduating from UCB (with honors) in English, June 1960. Subsequent study of composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at Mills College, 1961-64; of painting at Mills College, 1983; of drawing at Santa Rosa Junior College, 1986; of computer music at San Francisco State University, 1987.

Residence: Berkeley, California, 1957-1997; Sonoma county, California, since 1983 (exclusively since 1997).

Married (Lindsey Remolif, 1957), three grown children, seven grandchildren.

1964-67 Music director, KPFA radio, Berkeley
1967-74 Announcer, producer, critic, KQED-TV, San Francisco
1972-88 Staff writer; art and music critic, Oakland (CA) Tribune
1973-78 Editor and publisher, EAR (a monthly tabloid devoted to new music)
1973-84 Lecturer in criticism, composition, and music history, Mills College, Oakland

Travel: to Holland, 1973; to Paris, 1977; to Western Europe, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000; to Russia and Romania, 1983; to Polynesia, Australia and Fiji, January 1987; to Italy and Sardinia, 1988

Languages: modest reading and speaking ability in French and Italian.

Membership: The Newspaper Guild; Broadcast Music, Incorporated.

References: The New Grove Dictionary of American Music; various biographical dictionaries.


1957 Incidental music for Tennessee Williams’ play Camino Real performed in U.C. Berkeley production directed by Robert Goldsby.
1961-64 Studied composition with Luciano Berio at Mills College, Oakland, and Robert Erickson at the San Francisco Conservatory and privately; studied conducting with Gerhard Samuel privately.
1962 Fratture for seven instruments won honorable mention, Pacifica Awards Competition.
1963 Fratture performed, Osaka Festival, Japan, 23 Dec.
1964 Attended premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Momente, Buffalo, NY, and wrote and produced radio documentary on the event for KPFA radio, Berkeley.
1964-7 Wrote, produced and directed scores of documentary radio programs on music, live concerts, and hundreds of recorded concerts for KPFA.
1965 Small Concerto for Piano and Orchestra performed at Cabrillo Festival, Aptos, CA.
1965 Small Concerto for Piano and Orchestra performed at Cabrillo Festival, Aptos, CA.
1965-7 Produced the Third Annual Festival of the Avant Garde, 321 Divisadero St., San Francisco.
1967 First performance of parts of “The Duchamp Opera,” Oct. 27, Berkeley.
1968 From Calls and Singing commissioned and performed by the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor.
1968-73 Produced, wrote and directed many music programs for KQED-tv, including a tribute to Rossini, two concerts of music by George Antheil, interviews with Robert Moran, Morton Feldman and others, a documentary on the San Francisco Opera’s summer Merola Training Program, etc.
1969-71 Composed various component pieces of “The Duchamp Opera” culminating in a one-man concert at Mills College, 13 March 1971.
1972  Detroit Symphony performs From Calls and Singing.
1973-78 Co-founder, editor, publisher and major contributor to Ear, a monthly tabloid magazine concerned with new music.
1973 Parergon for solo flute commissioned by Janet Millard, premiered April 2, San Francisco.
1974 Produced concert for Gertrude Stein centennial, 1750 Arch, Berkeley, 4 Feb.
Produced Ear String Quartet concert-exhibition of graphic scores, Intersection, San Francisco, 28 Feb.
One-man concert at 1750 Arch, Berkeley, 9 June
1976 Two Songs from “Tender Buttons” played at Oakland Museum, 6 Jan.
Five Pieces after Handler of Gravity premiered by Nathan Schwartz, Oakland Museum, 17 Oct.
Music for Orchestra (Symphony) commissioned and premiered by Contra Costa Symphony, 29 Oct.
1976 Screen with Variations performed by San Francisco Chamber Music Society, 15 Nov.
1977 One-man concert, Mills College
1978 Tongues commissioned and premiered by The Arch Ensemble
1979 National Endowment for the Arts grant finances composition of much of the opera The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even
1980 Tonguesperformed at Cabrillo Music Festival, 23 Aug.
1981 One-act opera, The Box of 1914, premiered by John Adams and The New Music Ensemble, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 29 Jan., staged by Jeanne Thomas.
Five Pieces after Handler of Gravity played by Machiko Kobialka, New Sounds Festival, San Jose, 8 Feb.
1982 Nightmusic premiered by the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Kent Nagano conducting, Paramount Theater, Oakland, 24 Jan.
Handler of Gravity performed by Pamela Decker, organ, and Jack van Geem, percussion, on E. Power Biggs memorial concert, St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, 12 Sept. (1982)
Extensive article on Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (Private Parts) published in New Performance, vol. III no. 1.
 Extensive articles on Erik Satie and Edgard Varèse and on avant-garde music in the U.S. included in Storia Universale della Musica (Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Verona, Italy).
1983 Nightmusic issued on 1750 Arch records (S-1792), Kent Nagano conducting Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Accompanied the Rova Saxophone Quartet on tour to Moscow, Leningrad, Riga, and several cities in Romania, 8-29 June, with travel grant from the Mellon Fund, Mills College.
1984 Certain Phenomena of Sound premiered by Anna Carol Dudley, soprano, and David Abel, violin; S.F. Contemporary Music Players, Feb. 11.
Appeared on “Speaking of Music” series, interviewed by Charles Amirkhanian, San Francisco Exploratorium, November.
 Duchamp opera (The Bride Stripped Bare By her Bachelors, Even) performed in “laboratory” production at Mills College, Dec. 1-5, with major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
1985 Requiem with Oboe premiered by Ariel chamber chorus (Christopher Fulkerson, conductor), Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, June 11.
 Co-produced (with Robert P. Commanday) the annual convention of the Music Critics Association in San Francisco and Oakland, June 12-15.
1986 participated in Betty Freeman “Music Room” musicale, Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9.
1986 participated in Betty Freeman “Music Room” musicale, Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 9.
Arias from The Bride... performed by Anna Carol Dudley and Judith Hubbell, with violin and percussion, at Hatley Martin Gallery, San Francisco, Nov. 3; repeated, expanded and with piano, on San Francisco Contemporary Music Players “mega-concert,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nov. 24.
In spite of major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, projected fully staged performance of The Bride..., announced for production at Herbst Theater, San Francisco, is canceled two weeks before scheduled December performance.
1987 Public conversation with Virgil Thomson, Black Oak Books, Berkeley, March 19; broadcast next morning on KPFA-fm.
Produced and moderated concert-discussion of 25-year retrospect of the Cabrillo Music Festival, May 28.
 Excerpts of The Bride... performed on Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players concert at University of California, Berkeley, Oct. 5.
One-man concert of vocal cycles and instrumental quartets, Berkeley Art Center, Oct. 30
Chamber opera, Ladies Voices, for three sopranos and six instruments, commissioned by Noh Oratorio Society for soprano Judith Hubbell, premiered Nov. 16
1987-90 Panelist, New American Works, Opera-Music Theater Program, National Endowment for the Arts.
1989 Chamber opera I Like It to Be a Play, for tenor, baritone, bass and string quartet, commissioned by Noh Oratorio Society, premiered Feb. 6.
Produced a series of four voice-and-piano recitals for San Francisco Performances, Inc., March-April.
Symphony in Three Movements premiered by the Berkeley Symphony, Kent Nagano conducting, April 29-30.
1990 premiere of Concerto for Violin with Harp, Percussion and Small Orchestra, July 20, at the Cabrillo Festival, Santa Cruz, Beni Shinohara, soloist; Kenneth Harrison, conductor. Premiere of Sonata: Bachelor Machine, July 25, at Alliance Française, San Francisco, Eliane Lust, piano.
1991 major reviews for Notes (books by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Andrew Porter and Carl Van Vechten) and Musical Quarterly (the 1990 Cabrillo and Ojai Music Festivals). Panelist, Pacific Rim Composers Project, Cabrillo Music Festival. Lecture, “California Contributions to 20th Century Music,” Music Library Association, joint Southern and Northern California chapters, Pasadena, Oct. 19.
1992 February 10: recited Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, Robert Black, conductor; San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Veterans’ Building.
August 26: read from writings of John Cage and introduced his 4'33" at Berkeley Symphony Orchestra concert, Zellerbach Auditorium, Berkeley.
September 5: read John Cage’s James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet at Cage Birthday Concert, Fort Mason, San Francisco.
1993 February 13: address on “California Archetypes of Experimental Composers,” Sonneck Society, Asilomar.
March 28: premiere, Three Pieces for Piano, performed by Rae Imamura, Annie’s Hall, Berkeley.
May 30: performed John Cage: Indeterminacy, with Eliane Lust, piano; Dan Smiley, violin; Ward Spangler, percussion; Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley.
June 5: performed John Cage: Indeterminacy, with Amy Knoles, percussion; Ojai Art Center, Ojai Festival, Ojai.
1995 Published Thinking Sound Music: the Life and Work of Robert Erickson (Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press). Participated in Here Comes Everybody, a four-day symposium on John Cage, Mills College, Oakland, November.
1996 March 3: performed John Cage: Indeterminacy, with Eliane Lust, piano; Old First Church, San Francisco.
March 7: Delivered lecture on Robert Erickson, Univ. of California at San Diego.
August: publication of Everbest Ever, correspondence among Virgil Thomson, Margery Tede, Victor Rowley, and Stanley Yarnell, ed. C. Shere.
November: participant in Other Minds Festival, week-long retreat at Djerassi Foundation and series of concerts at Yerba Buena Center and UC Berkeley, with eleven other composers; premiere of Trio for Violin, Piano, and Percussion.
1997 Narrated spoken dialogue in Beethoven’s Leonore, Berkeley Opera, May 31-June 8.
1998 One-man concert in Berkeley includes Stein songs, Trio for Violin, Piano, and Percussion, and other works.
1999 Narrated spoken dialogue in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Undine, Berkeley Opera.
2000 Narrated as Virgil Thomson in San Francisco Chamber Singers production of Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts with interpolated commentary by Thomson and Gertrude Stein.
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1963 Attended Marcel Duchamp retrospective in Pasadena, instantly seized by his audacity, vision and intelligence.
1964-87  Intensive private research into Duchamp’s “Large Glass” involving continued investigation of all aspects of 20th century art.
1967-74 Wrote scripts, narrated and co-produced television programs on contemporary art, including a one-hour program on Duchamp (1968), on Cubism (1971), on William Wiley (1972), on “The Machine” show from the Museum of Modern Art (1969), on Georgia O’Keeffe (1971), on Arthur Mathews (1972), and hosting and co-producing “Critics’ Circle” for several years as well as reviewing museum and gallery shows for the news program.
1971 Participated in panel discussion on Andrew Wyeth, M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco.
1972-88 Art critic, Oakland Tribune, writing a major Sunday article most weeks of the year as well as interviews, art politics coverage, book reviews, etc.
1973 Lectured on Abstract Expressionism at San Francisco Museum of Art.
1975 Essay on British Columbia painting published in Artscanada, March 1975 issue.
1976 New Deal Art in California, catalog for exhibition at De Saisset Gallery, Univ. Santa Clara.
Panel discussion, California Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Panelist, California Arts Council.
1977 National Endowment for the Arts grant ($5,000) for individual research into West Coast painting.
Introduction to catalog, Thomas Akawie, San Jose Museum of Art.
Panel discussion, “Critical Inquiry” in the Arts, de Saisset Gallery, Univ. Santa Clara.
Exhibition jury, California College of Arts and Crafts.
1978  Introduction to The David Lance Goines Poster Book, Harmony Books.
1979 Founding editorial board member of Images and Issues (Los Angeles).
1980 Introduction to catalog, Nell Sinton, Mills College, Oakland.
1981 Member of advisory committee for Oakland Museum re. acquisition of sculpture by Mark di Suvero, Alvin Light and Michael Heizer.
1982 Honorable mention, first annual Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company-Art World awards “for distinguished newspaper art criticism,” for “Why Save Art,” published in The Tribune, 1 Nov. 1981.
Panel discussions, Art Criticism, International Sculpture Conference, Oakland, summer 1982; Partners for Livable Spaces, Berkeley, autumn 1982.
 Exhibition jury, Fiberworks, Berkeley; Juror, Joseph Henry Jackson award for sculpture, Civic Art Gallery, Walnut Creek.
1983 Translation of Douze petits écrits, by Francis Ponge, published in small edition as facsimile of original calligraphy and drawings.
Introduction to catalogs, Cheryl Bowers, Kirk de Gooyer Gallery, Los Angeles; and Joan Brown, Mills College, Oakland.
1984 Lecture, “Painters, Peasants and Postmodernism,” San Francisco Art Institute, April 25 (later published in Even Recent Cultural History).
On summer faculty, San Francisco Art Institute, to teach criticism.
Taught “Modernism and Marcel Duchamp,” semester-long class in 20th-century art, at Mills College.
Panel discussion, “Art and Disability,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
1985 Panelist, Marin County art council awards in painting and photography.
Lecture, “Taste and Stance,” Vorpal Gallery, May 2 (later published in Even Recent Cultural History).
Lecture, “Postwar Bay Area Painting,” June 30, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (later published in Even Recent Cultural History)
1986 Lecture, “Evaluating Quality in Contemporary Art,” St. Mary’s College, Moraga (later published in Even Recent Cultural History)
Moderator and co-producer, panel discussion for Biennial, Second Site, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Participated in group exhibition of art by art critics, Creative Growth Gallery, Oakland.
Exhibition jury, Pro Arts, Oakland.
1987 Panelist, GSA art selection for new Federal Building in Oakland, February.
Critique, Alumni Association, San Francisco Art Institute, May 2.
Symposium on criticism, California State University, San Luis Obispo, July 24.
Retrospective exhibition of original work and work by others in personal collection, Berkeley Art Center, Oct. 18-Nov. 21.
1988 Catalog essay, paintings by Hassel Smith, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California.
Researched, wrote and narrated audiotour script for Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures, Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, subsequently revised for the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Researched and wrote audiotour script for Georgia O’Keeffe, Dallas Museum of Art, subsequently revised for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Curated group show, Art, not Narrative, for California State University, Hayward, featuring paintings by Squeak Carnwath, Belinda Chlouber, Peter Crompton, Darin Donovan, and Dan McCleary; exhibition subsquently traveled.
1989 Researched and wrote catalog essay for Robert Gonzales: Portraits on the Wind, The Mexican Museum, San Francisco.
1990  Spoke at memorial for Jay DeFeo, Mills College, Oakland, California; remarks subsequently published in Art of California.
Major catalog essay for The Expressive Sculpture of Alvin Light, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, August 4-October 7, 1990 (subsequently traveling to the Laguna Art Museum and The Oakland Museum).
Shorter catalog essays for Charles Griffin Farr, Mary Sesnon Porter Gallery, Univ. of California at Santa Cruz; Dan Snyder, Louise Allrich Gallery, San Francisco.
1991  Major catalog essay for Ann Hamilton, (Marin) Headlands Art Center. Shorter catalog essays for Terry St. John, Contemporary Realist Gallery; Charles Strong, St. Mary’s College Art Gallery, Lundy Siegriest, Charles Campbell Gallery.
1993 Panelist, Bush Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dec. 16: Lecture, “Why Duchamp, Even?”; The Meridian Gallery, San Francisco.
1995 Jan. 20: Moderator, panel with Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Tom Marioni, Wayne Thiebaud, SFMOMA. Wrote series of thumbnail descriptions for audiotour of SFMOMA permanent collection.
1996 December: Participant in Patrick MacFarlin exhibition, Site Santa Fe, New Mexico
1997 June 28: Speaker, “Music and Conversation Inside Duchamp,” Berkeley Art Festival.


Board of directors, Pagnol et Cie Inc (management of Chez Panisse restaurant), 1974-present.
Author of various reviews under pseudonym “Charles Remolif,” e.g., “The Culture and Politics of Recent Music,” Threepenny Review, vol. 16; “Mozart and Rothko,” Threepenny Review, vol. 18.
Participant in “American Creativity at Risk,” symposium convened by Alliance of Artists’ Communities at Brown University, Providence, Nov. 1996.
Co-designed and constructed a residence in Sonoma County, California, 1986-1992 .

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(translator and designer:) Francis Ponge: Twelve Little Writings. 28 pages: San Francisco, privately printed, 1970
Beds and Bicycles: Travel in Europe, May-June 1992. 112 pages: Berkeley, privately printed, 1992
Notes on Artists and Musicians: selected reviews and essays. 128 pages: Berkeley, privately printed, 1993
Even Recent Contemporary Culture: five lectures on place, art, and poetry in daily life. 112 pages: Lebanon: Frog Peak Music, 1995
Remolif and Shere (and a Girl who Drank Beer) (a biography for juveniles). 71 pages: privately printed, 1995
Thinking Sound Music: the Life and Work of Robert Erickson. 278 pages: Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press, 1996
Everbest Ever: Correspondence with Bay Area Friends with Virgil Thomson and Margery Tede. 95 pages: Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press, 1996
Why I Read Stein. 40 pages: Oakland: Mills College Center for the Book, 2002

Music (partial list)

Three Pieces for Piano (1964)
Five Pieces after Handler of Gravity for solo piano (1975)
Three Songs from Tender Buttons for soprano, violin, and piano (1989)
Sonata: Bachelor Machine for solo piano (1989)
Three More Stein Songs for soprano, violin, bass clarinet, and piano (1997). Lebanon: Frog Peak Music, various dates
Ladies Voices (1988) and I Like It to Be a Play (1989). Berkeley: Fallen Leaf Press

Periodicals and other writings (partial list)

Reviews of music, books, theater, motion pictures, etc. in San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland (Calif.) Tribune,The Threepenny Review, Notes, The Musical Quarterly
Critical essays in Occident (Univ. Calif. at Berkeley), New Performance, Art in California, ArtCanada
"Three Little Crimes," memoir, in Zzyzyva
Contributions to The New Grove (dictionaries of Music, Women in Music, American Music, and Opera)
Various travel writings published on the Web (see Homepage)

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rev. 9/15/00