The Music of David Salminen

Posts tagged ‘I Ching’

The 10 favorite books game…

1. “I Ching” (Wilhelm/Baynes trans.) Consulting this oracle in 1972 on the subject of going to a school called Sherborne (J.G. Bennett, Principal), I twice got this hexagram, months apart: “In relation to the human world, it denotes the creative action of the holy man or sage, of the ruler or leader of men, who through his power awakens and develops their higher nature.”
2. “The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton” – Many times have I come back to look at this passage – from the Appendix III. He was speaking to a group of monks from various religions, at Calcutta, October, 1968: “… the monk in the modern world… is a marginal person who withdraws deliberately to the margin of society with a view to deepening fundamental human experience… Thus I find myself representing perhaps hippies among you, poets, people of this kind who are seeking in all sorts of ways and have absolutely no established status whatever…”
3. “Gurdjieff – Making a New World” by J.G. Bennett. One of the parts I have returned to again and again, in the Chapter called The Law of Reciprocal Maintenance: “The world was brought into existence because ‘being’ and ‘time’ are mutually destructive. Everything separate and closed within itself must perish for lack of a principle of renewal. There is partial renewal by borrowing energy from outside, but this is not enough. Full renewal requires full mutuality. It is by Universal giving and receiving of energies that Cosmic Harmony is maintained.”
4. “Culture, Crisis, and Creativity” by Dane Rudhyar – particularly the chapter on the Inner Space of Tones: “In the piano… if large chords are struck, integrating the sounds produced by the strings of properly distanced keys, and the pedal is pressed allowing for total sounding board resonance, the gong-tone effect is obtained… in which tones replace words and seek either to convey a message or to release a magical transformative impact.”
5. “The Heretics” by Walter Nigg: “The heretic has this in common with the prophet and the saint: that he is religiously alive… and prepared to sacrifice everything for his faith. He is the extreme antithesis of the indifferentist…”
6. “A Gymnasium of Beliefs in Higher Intelligence” by Anthony Blake – this book is, for me, a catalyst for experiences! “There is no reason to suppose that intelligence is restricted to organic or quasi-organic forms and species. But we will leave the question of communing with the stars or other inorganic bodies to some other place.” … (David took that as a challenge!)
7. “The Aquarian Conspiracy” by Marilyn Ferguson, who was a keynote speaker at a holistic health conference I went to in 1981 or ‘82. I expected her to be just another speaker – but I went to hear her anyway. It turned out that her talk was an energy channeling… not labeled as such, but that’s certainly how I experienced it.

8. and 9. and 10. I met a mysterious man in 1969, going only by the name of Richard, with a perfect star in the lines on the palm of his hand. He told me to read 3 books which, he said, would put me on a different path in life. They did. The 3 were: “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein & “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Expery & “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse.

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



announcement: the Portland “Synchronicity” concert 3/30/2014

The Second Law of Synchronicity – David Salminen – live in concert – exploratory piano improvisations

Sunday, March 30, 2014, 3 pm
Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Ave. Portland, OR 97205

This concert is a chance to listen to music under special conditions which may facilitate the perception of synchronicities (before, during, and after the event). There is little needed in the way of explanation, but some explanation is in order:

The First Law of Synchronicity is the principle of Common Presence – the feeling of simply being here together in this moment, not somewhere else, and not later than… this moment! Being is the operative word.

The Second Law of Synchronicity is the phenomenon of Mutual Adjustment – without the necessity of a before and after process in time. We’ve all seen or heard this kind of thing somewhere, as in the synchronized flight of a flock of birds (especially murmuration) and in really “tight” performances by musical groups.

With a little bit of luck, this unique concert will facilitate special individual experiences within the heart-mind – one’s own personal meaning factory – of what is going on both within us and around us, synchronistically. Connections and insights arise out of music spontaneously, when time & space have been set aside for such experiences.

Diving into the sound stream, as in a concert of this kind, and catching and releasing various things along the way, is done by way of analogy to the cosmic process. This process, like the famous I Ching of the Chinese people, is a “book of changes” – gradual, sudden, recurrent, unique, and so on – and all of it merely part of the flow. The ideas inspiring this concert come in part out of the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching, a book which has been a friend of the performer’s for over forty years. The 1949 forward to the book, by C. G. Jung, aptly describes the mystery of synchronicity in contemporary terms, as in the following on page xxiv. “The ancient Chinese mind contemplates the cosmos in a way comparable to that of the modern physicist, who cannot deny that his model of the world is a decidedly psychophysical structure.”

My brief notes re “The Laws of Synchronicity” (actually six in number) are adapted from The Dramatic Universe, a four-volume work by J. G. Bennett, section 10.26.3. He cites Jung’s I Ching forward, in this choice bit clarifying synchronicity as denoting:  “a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves, as well as with the subjective (psychic) state of the observer or observers.”

Donations to help make additional events like this more feasible are gratefully accepted. For more information, please call 503.762.6387 or visit

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