Ketzel, Feline Composer, Dies at age 19

Sad news about a feline composer, from the New York Times:

Ketzel, who won a prize for piano composition in 1997 and went on to be featured in a book, “The World of Women in Classical Music,” died Wednesday in Manhattan. She was 19 and lived on the Upper West Side.

Ketzel was a black-and-white cat.

In the article you can see a picture of Ketzel (whose name means “cat” in Yiddish), and a recording of her one composition, Piece for Piano, Four Paws. It is descending pitch-wise, but has a good sense of timing with a “beginning, middle and end.” The work was transcribed by one of Ketzel’s humans, Morris Moshe Cotel, who retired as chairman of the composition department at the Peabody Conservatory in 2000 and became a rabbi. It would be interesting to see, and even perform the score of Ketzel’s piece at some point.

In the article you can see a picture of Ketzel (whose name means “cat” in Yiddish), and a recording of her one composition, Piece for Piano, Four Paws. It is descending pitch-wise, but has a good sense of timing with a “beginning, middle and end.” The work was transcribed by one of Ketzel’s humans, Morris Moshe Cotel, who retired as chairman of the composition department at the Peabody Conservatory in 2000 and became a rabbi. It would be interesting to see, and even perform the score of Ketzel’s piece at some point.

Her piece one an award in the Paris New Music Review’s One-Minute Competition, and led to exchange between Professor Cotel and Allan Forte, with this observation:

long the way, Professor Cotel said he realized that Ketzel’s “exquisite atonal miniature” used only 10 pitches of the chromatic scale. “The two missing pitches are G natural and B-flat” — the opening notes of Domenico Scarlatti’s famous Fugue in G minor, known as the “Cat’s Fugue.”

Our thoughts go out to Ketzel’s surving human, Aliya Cheskis-Cotel.