David Teie is a highly accomplished musician: in addition to performing as a soloist with Washington D.C.’s National Symphony orchestra, the cellist is the conductor and musical director of the city’s premier chamber orchestra. He was also the principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony when they recorded with Metallica for the band’s 1999 album S&M and wrote the string arrangements for former Metallica bassist Jason Newstead’s band Echobrain. Yet, he’s getting the greatest amount of press for his current project: writing music specifically for cats.
Just to clarify, Teie isn’t a crazy cat-man that’s meowing into a mic to the tune of “Hey Jude” with a backing symphony (although come to think of it, I’d totally listen to that). The musician has conducted years of scientific research into the relationship between music and cognition and been published by Biology Letters of the Royal Society and Oxford University Press. After delving into the idea of species-specific music, his Music For Cats compositions were proven in studies to elicit favourable responses from felines compared to ‘human’ music and was listed by the New York Times as the #1 idea of 2009.
Using only musical instruments (no Run The Jewels style cat samples here), he mimicked sounds like the chirping of birds and purring, matching them to cats’ higher frequency range. He’s finally set out to make a full album of the music, and the response (from both cats and their owners) has been huge. A video on the project’s website shows some internet-famous kitties intrigued by the music, eventually cuddling up to the speakers and purring contentedly. Teie seems to be a stand up guy, so I’m going to trust that he didn’t cover the speakers with catnip.
The musician has since reached out to the public via a Kickstarter campaign to help make Music For Cats a reality. The campaign called for a $20,000 contribution, outlining recording and CD production costs as well as hiring professional musicians and additional research.
To the surprise of no one who’s ever met a cat lover, the campaign met its goal. Wait, sorry, that’s not quite right. In less than five days , the campaign has smashed its goal, raising nearly $55,000. Fingers crossed Music For Cats‘ sequel will be Master of Puppets remixed for felines.