Stay in touch
More About This Website

This site is really about my take on a number of media, technology and music business issues as I smack into them in my life and my business. Among them are: The challenges of running a small record label in the Music 2.0 (sorry) world, audio and music technology and business, learning and instructional technology and media, and just being a 40 something desk jockey with (now - gulp) 10 year old twins. (Sheesh - kids just keep growing and getting older no matter what you do!)

email me 

Coffee Cup

IMG_0881.JPGI hear that coffee is the new wine - whatever that means. I will say that I have really gotten into coffee this past year. I am no barista and I probably don't even qualify as a coffee geek, but I have put some time into pouring a good cup of joe while supporting fair trade distributors. Currently I am brewing/drinking what so far has to be my favorite source of coffee; Counter Culture coffee. Very fresh, Fair Trade and Organic offerings - check out some of their micro lots. Mmm-Good.

Other good ones: Global Libations in Kutztown Pa, I like their Costa Rican La Amistad, and Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee Wi, thier Dark Sumatra - strong stuff but mmmm good.

Don't forget Joe's Coffee Bar in Philidelphia. Excellent fresh roasted beans and fair trade too!

« Filtering – Clearing and Breaking through the Clutter. Part 1 | Main | "Quintets: Albright - Bolcom" and the Long Tail »

20 Years Ago Today... remember?

Great Sadness.

20 years ago I was a graduate student studying music composition at BGSU in NW Ohio. During the months of April and May, I got very caught up in the events that were then transpiring in Beijing, in particular, Tiananmen Square. How exciting and engaging it was to watch the brightest and bravest of a nation, the majority of whom were young college and graduate students like myself, staging such an incredible, peaceful demonstration for change in their country's government.

Remember, George HW was still president, and that was after 8 years of Reagan. Here in the US, it appeared to me at the time anyhow, that people of my age were only passionate about MBAs – Self- fulfillment, attaining things. And in full disclosure self- fulfillment and attaining things (but not MBAs) were things I sought and still sort of seek, but not something I was/am passionate about.

Every day I tuned-in to watch the demonstrations. It was gripping. A million people! The best and brightest of a generation - and they were going to do it! They were going to bring down the repressive Chinese government. I was excited. I was proud of them. How it impacted my mood – "look at these folks" I thought,  "Look at this movement – growing and evolving on the spot - no central leadership – an organic energy growing and spreading."

T-shirt produced by U-Chicago Chinese Student Union

June 4 through June 8 – what a crushing few days. Literally of course, as the Chinese government chose to wipe out the best and brightest of a generation. “Tank man” – such an inspiring figure – most likely executed with the other what - 3000 killed?

Needless to say I was devastated. That seems like a selfish statement when I look at it typed out on the page - it is.

But I was.

I can go on - I can ask, as many do; what was the ultimate impact those million demonstrators had in their country? Was it worth it? In China it has been written out of their history. The current generation of similar age really knows nothing about it, unless they sneak out on the internets outside of their own country. – sigh.


Back of the same shirt. Thanks to my bro Dave for the shirtAnyhow.

I was at the time writing a piece in support of the demonstrators in China. It was being written for my then girl friend (and now wife) to perform as a solo bassoon piece. Of course as an electronic music geek, I was looking to make it an ‘electronic’ bassoon piece. I was working with IVL pitch rider at the time, and the piece ultimately was developed for the bassoon with IVL pitch rider and digital sampler (quite the piece of gear at the time) with custom sound design and samples. It eventually became a lament. Here is a live recording of the piece perfromed at a festival in 1990. It seems horribly dated when I listen to it now - doesn’t really hold up.

But at the time it was a true expression of my feelings- my grief.

Grief I find I still have today.


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (1)

A creative spirit never dies. This piece made political history real to me. Nothing self-indulgent about that.
And speaking from experience - the bassoon piece was really challenging. And one of the most transformative experiences of my young performance career. It made me sensitive to the overtones of the acoustic sound in ways I never knew before. and to match that technical challenge with the emotional intensity of the composer..... whew! Wish i could do it all over again.

May 35th. We will remember and keep remembering so that China and the world never forgets.

June 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSilagh

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>