Passing of Award-Winning Feline Composer

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The world of piano-playing cats lost an award-winning composer on Wednesday of last week when Ketzel (Yiddish for “cat”) passed away at the age of 19.

Ketzel, named in the book, The World of Women in Classical Music, “composed”  her masterpiece one morning in 1996 as she stepped across the keys of her human’s grand piano. Ketzel was no stranger to classical music — her human was none other than the late Morris Moshe Cotel, who retired as chairman of the composition department at Peabody Conservatory.

Cotel, struck by the structure of the tune, quickly transcribed it and set it aside. He only revisited the short piece in 1997 when he saw an announcement for Paris New Music Review’s one minute competition. The entry could be no longer than one minute…Ketzel’s musical number was just perfect!

Although, on the entry form, Cotel disclosed the paws that wrote the piece, the judges were not aware the composer’s feline identity. Her purrsona was soon revealed and she was bestowed a special award: “Piece for Piano, Four Paws.” Ketzel received a few royalty checks for her masterpiece, the first being made out to Ketzel Cotel, in the amount of $19.72.

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