I am not the most tech-dependent person around. Music geekiness, I get, but wired stuff? Not so much.
I am a trained soprano, you see, only one step down from cats on the “diva potential” scale. (Notice I said potential – I’ve known enough cats along the way to keep me in my place.) I can wax poetic about twentieth century choral art music, but still resist some twentieth century doodads – nevermind twenty-first century hyperconnectivity. I got my first cell phone years after my friends did, didn’t feel the need for cable television until I developed a fanaticism for the cable-only Tour de France, and am one of about 3 Americans that do not have a Facebook page. Call me old-fashioned.
But I have come to find that some developments in recent years are absolutely, positively indispensable. Take, for instance, the aforementioned cell phone. I was late to the game, but now have been without a land line for ages, and phones with cords seem quaint and quite frankly, cumbersome. As a music teacher, I use laptop recording software regularly to transform my classroom into a recording studio. And le Tour? I now prefer to watch it streaming online from overseas TV outlets – preferably in the local language. Somehow cycling is even more excitante when I can’t understand a word the commentators are saying.
But without a doubt, I think that YouTube is one of the very best things ever. Where else can I watch the unfortunately extinct Whose Line Is It Anyway? and find the episodes that make me laugh so hard I cry? Or recorder performances to impress even the most jaded third grader? And don’t even get me started on the silly cat videos. My nieces and I can watch those for hours.
Recently, I stumbled upon a cat video of an entirely different kind and have yet to find the words to articulate its magic. Have you met Nora? She’s a supercute tabby with a penchant for the piano and gets her kicks playing solos, duets, and “helping” her person’s students in lessons. Well, Nora caught the eye – or rather, ear – of Lithuanian conductor, composer, and artist Mindaugas Piečaitis, who found her as fascinating as the rest of us. He also heard a bit more – a sense of cadence, harmony, and spare sensibilities that might earn the respect of a fellow (and iconic) Baltic state composer.
Maestro Piečaitis didn’t just say, “wow” the way most of the rest of the world did, though. After conferring with Nora’s people, he embarked on a ground-breaking (and as far as I can tell, truly one-of-a-kind) collaborative compositional project: Catcerto.
This is no cutesy kitty banging on the piano, or semi-cracked artiste indulging in senseless performance art. This is the real deal. And I can’t imagine how this could have come about without without the benefit of those social media tools that I ordinarily view with suspicion. I wouldn’t call me a convert yet, but it seems the tide is turning.
So, in spite of my aversion to all things gadgety, boy am I glad that other people (and cats) are not. Here’s a big shout out to Nora, the maestro, and the tech übergeeks of the world that love to play with computers and cameras and the intertubes. You’ve paved the way to a whole new arena of appreciation in which we artsy geeks can revel.