In 2009, Lithuanian composer and conductor Mindaugas Piečaitis created a CATcerto for the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. The piece, intended for a family audience and especially young listeners, takes edited videos of Nora – a YouTube starring cat that plays piano – and builds a beautiful classical work around this found medium. Nora, a U.S. resident, did not attend the concert, but was presented on a video screen above the orchestra. What could have been a disposable novelty was turned into an event that continues to draw new fans years later.
The story might have lived and died five years ago if it was not for the complete sincerity of the work. Piečaitis became known for this piece (YouTube cats know no national boundaries), but his career has long focused on connecting with new audiences through unexpected channels. Enjoy the chamber orchestra performance below, along with a (translated) Lithuanian TV interview with the composer. If you have a hankering to experience another side of classical music live, the Cleveland Orchestra presents a Sci-Fi Spectacular with guest narrator George Takei this Sunday (7/13) at Blossom.