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About David Teie
Having dedicated much of his life to the cello, David Teie came to wider public attention through his composition for cats. He began studying composition at 17, but switched his focus to the cello and dedicated himself to that pursuit for the next 20 years. His efforts led him to be chosen by Russian maestro Mstislav Rostropovich for a U.S. tour, in which he gave 18 solo performances with the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1999, Teie was acting principal cellist for the San Francisco Symphony, and during his tenure there he contributed lead cello to heavy metal band Metallica's record S&M. In 2010, he premiered his flute concerto with Washington D.C.'s Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and went on to become their music director and conductor from 2014 to 2016. He has served on the faculty at the University of Maryland's School of Music as a cello lecturer.
In addition to his classical career, Teie became interested in why music affects humans and what triggers our emotional response to it. He set out to discover more about the subject, and published his findings in a book titled Human Music: From Arias to Metallica, Where Music Comes from and Why It Affects Us. By extension, Teie figured that his theory could be applied to different species and set about composing music for monkeys. To test his theory, he teamed up with psychology professor Charles Snowdon from the University of Wisconsin to play his music to cotton-top tamarins. Consequently, his theory was published by both the Royal Society and the Oxford University Press.
In order for his work to reach a wider audience, Teie decided domestic cats would be his next experiment, as they are such commonly kept pets. In order to get his Music for Cats project off the ground, the composer used crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise financing. The idea caught the imagination of feline fans and he accumulated nearly $250,000 in pledges. With Teie's project gaining momentum, Universal became interested in the recording and signed Teie, going on to become the first major label to release an album not intended for human consumption.
Music for Cats was an ambient release that featured the subtle use of purring and suckling noises alongside Teie's cello, and members of the National Symphony Orchestra also contributed. Teie claimed his music was scientifically proven to enrich cats' lives, and despite being allergic to them, he said the venture turned him from an admirer into a cat lover. ~ Bekki Bemrose
- Fridley, MN
- 25 Oct 1955