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CATcerto – a cat plays the piano with an orchestra

July 26th, 2009

This is simply amazing. Lithuanian conductor and composer Mindaugas Piečaitis found videos on Youtube of a very talented, musical cat, Nora the Piano Cat and decided to write a concerto for her.

The concerto, called CATcerto (web site) was first performed by Nora and the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra in Lithuania on June 5th 2009. The world premiere is available on Youtube (or by using the player below).

It is quite a musical feat to conduct an orchestra along with a cat! Piečaitis writes:

The problems of the performance of this atypical piece became clear during its first rehearsals. It is not very easy to guess what the cat is playing, so that the video material must be studied very closely and be oriented in the accompaniment not only by what the soloist is playing, but also by the movements she makes beforehand. This became a particular challenge for the orchestra.

Nor was it simple to rehearse the nearly minute-long prelude to the piece, in which the main themes of the piece are presented, with the soloist calmly sitting at the piano and »waiting« for her entrance cue. If I started the piece just 3–4 seconds too early or too late, it would be impossible to avoid a collapse. This risk truly raises your blood pressure.

Video material does not »breathe«, so that you cannot exchange a glance with the soloist and must unconditionally adapt to her.

Nora the Piano Cat writes in her artist’s statement:

I would like to thank Mr Piečaitis for giving me the opportunity to show the entire world that a cat concert pianist can indeed play beautiful music with an orchestra. It is the mission of every great artist like me to inspire others to create. If I have inspired even one person to write music, or learn an instrument, than I will have lived a meaningful life.

I love this video – it is musically interesting, beautiful, and very creative and inspiring.

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