Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,


This is my twenty fourth progress report after 730 days as your President. Note that previous reports are on the ISSMGE web site ( under “From the President” if you need them. It has been 2 years since you elected me. You may recall that on these anniversary reports I take the liberty to talk about things that are not related to geotechnical engineering but more related to life in general. But before I do that I will make an exception to help my friend Professor Antonio Correia, Chair of the ISSMGE TC on Transportation Geotechnics who will offer the second ISSMGE webinar on Intelligent Compaction on 25Oct2011. I recommend it highly and will be a participant myself. If you wish to attend this webinar please contact Hanna, my assistant, at


In this report, I would like to share with you some of the most beautiful music I have come across in my life, music which has lifted me up in difficult times, music which has made me appreciate the beauty of life, music which makes me vibrate and makes me feel so alive. My parents forced me to play the piano until the end of high school and I hated every minute of it. Yet when I arrived in university I started to play by myself and music became a faithful companion. I ended up playing piano jazz in bars in Paris to earn some money as a student! and now I am so thankful that my parents forced me. Yes, I must admit it, my parents knew better! So here are some links that I have selected. There is classical music, jazz music, folksy music, and others. This selection is by no means all encompassing and many very classic pieces are not listed; nevertheless, it is a snap shot of my music world. Some of these links are preceded by commercials which I could not avoid; you can skip through them and get to the song. The Song of the Birds by Pablo Casals invited by Kennedy at the White House in 1961. Simple beauty. When I hear this, I keep thinking how lucky we are to live among people who can generate such extraordinarily simple beauty and I am overwhelmed. Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2. Deliciously light and gliding. I get goose bumps when I hear this one. Asturias from Isaac Albeniz. Ana Vidovic. Masterful piece which sure wakes you up. Minor swing by Jango Reinhardt. The master Django Reinhardt with Stephane Grapelli. This jazz piece is so uplifting and happy. When I hear this piece of music, it lifts up my spirit regardless of my mood. This is the music I chose for the opening dance with my daughter Natalie at her marriage in 2002!, the same piece of music but by virtuosos, epoustouflant! Jimmy Shand. How can you not be happy when you hear this one. It sure gives me plenty of energy on my way to work in the morning. I prefer that to coffee! Hit the road jack, Ray Charles. So much talent, so much life, so much fun. Russian Red Army Kalinka. What a beautiful and classic song. Strength, passion, and nuances. Our own voice is such a wonderful instrument. What a Wonderful Word by Louis Armstrong. Indeed what a wonderful world! Markahuasi los refranes: There is something special about the flute, you sense the breath of the player and communicate even better. Antonio Carlos Jobim – Desafinado. I guess if you feel too excited about something this may be the one to listen to. What calming and charming at the same time. The rhythm is unparalleled. Willy Nelson, On the road again: I play this one in the car every time I drive to the Houston airport to catch a plane and go visit my friends geotechnical engineers throughout the world.

I just noticed that in preparing this report I listed as my favorites music, music from many different countries. Indeed music has no boundaries, no need for translation, everyone understands and appreciates. What a beautiful common language that we can share at any time. Have a great day and do share some of your favorite music with me if you wish.



Please relay this report to your membership.
Best wishes,

Jean-Louis BRIAUD
President of ISSMGE
International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering