Peter Neumann

Another small world encounter: several years ago my family was invited to dinner at our friends' home a half mile up the street. We originally met them ca. 1990 via my chance conversation with another patient parent at a childrens' chess tournament in downtown DC — I mentioned that we were seeking a piano teacher, and an opponent's mother told me about her kids' lessons. Although her family lived far away they were going to an instructor in my neighborhood. So began a relationship, first as piano/harpsichord students, later as friends, for the past two decades.

Anyway, also visiting our friends that evening was Peter Neumann, a semi-celebrity in the world of computer science. Peter is most known for the RISKS forum, an online publication/scrapbook concerning the risks of computers in society. But for us, or at least for me, his real claim to fame occurred before that dinner when my son Robin played some ragtime piano for the visitor. As seems to always happen with young performers, Robin was blasting out a Scott Joplin piece as fast as he could tickle the ivories, or rather, slightly faster than he could play it accurately. Neumann, a musician himself, stopped my son and told him that piano rags must be played slowly! Don't ask me why, but it stuck in my mind ...

^z - 2008-05-07

(correlates: JonathanSturm, AntiQuaintances, ApprovedMethods, ...)