The Music of David Salminen

Archive for July, 2014

David Salminen’s summer piano concert, Portland, Oregon

THE NATURE OF WATER – Sunday, August 17, 2014 –  3 pm

Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Ave, Portland Oregon

There is no admission charge for this event, but donations to support more presentations of this kind are gratefully received.

Water itself is the inspiration behind the August 17 set of improvisations. Water is a major symbol running through cultures worldwide; but it is useful as such only when we are able to open up to its signals. Luckily, clues are everywhere! From the I Ching (Wilhelm/Baynes translation, Hexagram #29): “Water… flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions.”

For Salminen and many of his fans, it has become axiomatic that the subtle and enjoyable discipline of real listening is what actually makes a musical event come alive.  David will introduce this concert with a short talk providing useful hints about listening, and on how new music can be an inspiration toward new forms of understanding. His general philosophy about inspiration is that it is a plural medium – thus the “media” – from which we all draw nourishment. It is not something possessed by individuals.

The “doing” of improvisation has been David’s primary music teacher since he had an “opening” experience in 1979 while working as an accompanist with dozens of dance-teachers-in-training. However, that “opening” as well as Salminen’s ongoing presentations of “cosmic improvisation” was and is grounded in classical training. He took his first piano lessons in 1959 and continued for nine years at the David Hochstein Memorial Music School in Rochester, New York. These years were followed by studies in psychology, music theory, non-Western music, and avant-garde music at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1969-74. The academic years were joyfully interrupted by a year of consciousness studies at the International Academy for Continuous Education at Sherborne, England, with the philosopher John G. Bennett. Subsequently, while living in Alaska in the late 1970’s, David’s development as a pianist was greatly accelerated under the tutelage of the French-born piano virtuoso Jean-Paul Billaud, who connected him with the Leschetitzky and other European traditions of music practice, technique, and interpretation.

Examples of David’s concert music can be found at:   – as well as –

For more information, call 503-762-6387 or email




returning to a sense and feeling of oneself – with “music mantras”

How does one return to oneself, one’s sense & feeling of oneself, during the course of a busy day? I have been experimenting with “music mantras” for quite some time now. Instead of worrying about how to stop a tune that keeps running thru my head (which seems to be a common complaint in these times) I have experimented with intentionally placing a tune into my “mind” first thing in the morning, and allowing it to come up as it will during the day. I’ll run with it for awhile, and then just carry on with my business, whatever that may be. Two of the most effective tunes I’ve used for this are Finnish folk songs I memorized as a child during my early piano lessons. Someday I will have to record my piano versions of these two contrasting Finnish folk tunes, “I love you from the heart” and “I am a singing boy” – they are just marvelous. Another melody – actually a complicated melding of two contrasting themes – that arises often in my consciousness lately, as for instance right when I’m waking up in the morning, is the famous “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” by J.S. Bach. I don’t know why I love these particular tunes so much – but obviously such choices are very personal or idiosyncratic. Here is a recording of the Bach-Busoni version of my beloved “Wachet auf” – by the wise and subtle pianist of a previous generation…  Solomon:

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