To my freedom-loving fans and friends: Do you care about censorship of information online? There’s a new internet anti-censorship movement afoot. Or should I say “apaw”? It’s called The Pussy Cat Riot <http://thepussycatriot.org/>. It’s cat-inspired, so it naturally caught my eye. But even my fur-challenged friends might like to check it out.
Some people, and even my many feline friends and fans, tend to think my life as The Piano Cat is one of constant excitement and unending adoration from my purrsonal assistants. Not so! Most days I spend a good deal of time in my favorite chair in the piano studio. It was Burnell’s first gift to Betsy after they moved in together. She had admired it in an antique shop and he went back later and bought it and carried it several blocks to their apartment for her birthday. Thankfully, she has no problem sharing it with a musical diva. Why, she’s even the one who snapped the photos below. Of course, if any of you stop by for a visit, I’ll make a mad dash to the piano bench. A diva must always be ready to wow her fans. (Click photo for larger view.)
Alright, I agree that I’m much too much a star to ever really blend in. But on those rare occasions when I seek a little anonymity, I head on down to under-the-piano land and join an animal cast of characters that includes frogs, lizards, snakes, cats, fish, and even a turkey. And if I keep very, very still, even my sibling Max (with whom I have a somewhat strained relationship) may just pass right on by. So, the next time you stop over for a visit and don’t see me on the piano bench, take a look down under and if you spot me and I give a little wink, just keep walking – and tell Max that Nora has left the building.
Photo by Betsy Alexander.
While it is true I have a well-deserved reputation for being a classical music diva (check out CATcerto, composed and conducted by Mindaugas Piecaitis), I also have a bluesy side and the chops to go with it, as evidenced by this blues riff I composed on the spot the other day.
August 24, 2012 – a day that will live in the annals of feline history forever. It was the day that a human travelled across the ocean to meet his feline muse. The human was a Lithuanian composer/conductor by the name of Mindaugas Piecaitis. As my many fans, friends and admirers know, Maestro Piecaitis is the composer of CATcerto – a concerto inspired by the piano stylings of yours truly, Nora The Piano Cat. This wonderful piece of music was written and conducted by Piecaitis and performed by the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra. I, of course, was the guest soloist and appeared via a pre-recorded video projected onto a large screen behind the orchestra. The concerto went on to be published by Peters Publishing and has been performed, to date, twenty times in five counties since it’s premiere in 2009. The video of the world premiere in Lithuania has been viewed several million times on YouTube. All this and still I had not met the composer face to face. All that changed on August 24, 2012.
Maestro Piecaitis arrived in the early evening. As he rounded the top of the stairs, I ran to the piano, jumped up on the bench and struck a few notes. He smiled and hurried over. “I feel I am dreaming,” he said. I settled in and allowed his adoration to continue. For a time, he sat on the floor and gazed into my eyes as I gazed into his. I stretched out a paw and touched his hand. It was moment of communion between like minds, between kindred spirits. Piecaitis did, with CATcerto, what I most certainly would have done had I been born with ten fingers. (Click thumbnail to view full image.)
Later, during our three day visit, I played a bit more and he displayed a few playing techniques he had learned from watching my videos. He’s working on mastering the head roll. I felt honored and humbled. When he left, I felt sad but also very happy we had had the time to share some very special moments. And I’m certain we’ll meet again.
The scene above has been repeated a number of times, according to my fans. Really. It usually goes down like this: a human brings up one of my YouTube videos on their computer, and another cat (obviously one with great musical taste and an appreciation of real feline talent) enters the room, jumps up on the desk or bed, etc. and proceeds to interact with the image of yours truly on the screen. This interaction can take several forms: 1) Pawing at the screen. 2) Meowing. 3) Sitting quietly and staring with rapt attention at the amazing performance unfolding in front of them. The cat pictured above is named Muffin, and her human, Nathalie Cone, took this photo of Muffin expressing her admiration for the diva. That’s me.
Anyway, I want to thank Nathalie and Muffin for permission to post this wonderful photo. And I’d also like to invite all of my human fans to send me photos or videos of their feline companions showing them appreciating my videos. Please include your names, as well. By sending me the photos or short video clips (links to clip on YouTube preferred, if available), you are agreeing to allow me to post the images or links on my blog/website.
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
While visiting New York City today, B&B were surprised to find that the November 28th issue of New York magazine referenced yours truly (twice) in a short piece about cat humor. Funny how some folks just can’t take a piano-playing cat seriously. Perhaps if I stood up and told a joke, they’d write about my immense and remarkable talent on the ivories. So, a cat, a mouse, and a goldfish walk into a bar….
(Click thumbnail to view larger image.)
Mindaugas Piecaitis, the composer of CATcerto, just sent B&B a scan of one of the pages of the printed program for the recent performance of CATcerto in Amsterdam (November 11, 2011). As you know, CATcerto was composed by Piecaitis and based on my piano stylings. It features yours truly as guest soloist via a large video screen placed behind the orchestra. As of Nov. 11, CATcerto has been performed fourteen times in five countries.
Maestro Piecaitis explains that it is customary in a program to list first information about the pieces being performed, then about the composers, and finally about the soloists. This image is a scan of the page about the soloists – complete with photos. I can’t read the paragraph about me, because it’s in Dutch. Any Dutch-speaking fans out there care to translate? (Click thumbnail to view full image.)
A YouTube video of the very first performance of CATcerto, performed by Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra in the Klaipėda Concert Hall in Klaipėda (Lithuania) on 5th June, 2009, can be found at: http://youtu.be/zeoT66v4EHg
For more info on CATcerto: http://www.catcerto.com
You can also read more about it right here on my website by clicking the “CATcerto” button at the top of the page.
Oh, my. I’ve had many visitors over the last several years: boys and girls of all ages from toddler to adult, even a dog or two. But I’ve never had a flat visitor until I met Flat Stanley. He came along with a student of Betsy’s one day, and he hung out on my piano for an hour or so. (Click image to view larger.)
The student’s name is Asa, and he was involved with the Flat Stanley Project, which is an international literacy and community building activity for students of all ages, teachers and families. It’s pretty cool. People all over the globe cut out and color Stanley and mail him just about everywhere. He’s even met President Obama (there’s lots of photos on the Flat Stanley website. – www.flatstanley.com) So, check it out. Hey, maybe there should be a Flat Nora Project! (I said “flat,” not “fat.”) 🙂