Nora (born 2006) is a gray tabby cat, rescued from a shelter in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who has become known for "tapping" the piano. The Times of London, in its online edition, characterized her music as being "something halfway between Philip Glass and free jazz."
Life and music
Nora was named after the artist Leonora Carrington. Nora was adopted, and when a year old, Nora climbed up onto the bench in front of a Yamaha Disklavier piano in the middle of the night and began to play.
Since that time, Nora has continued to play the piano on a daily basis (this sometimes annoys her owner), sometimes playing duets with her owner and her owner's students. The students encouraged the creation of a YouTube video, which was uploaded in early 2007. It received a large number of views and attracted the attention of other media. It was featured on many talk shows, newspapers and news channels including Martha Stewart, CNN, The Daily Show, Public Radio International, The Today Show and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Nora was featured on the syndicated television show, Wild About Animals, episode #332, in September 2010.
Nora has attracted the interest of both musicians and scientists, who are fascinated by her rare behavior. It appears that she likes the attention it brings her, but she also plays when alone. She does express a preference for playing with students, when they play Bach, and for playing a specific piano, a Yamaha Disklavier. In addition, she gravitates toward the D-E-F range on the keyboard and includes the black keys in her playing.
The National Science Foundation has included Nora in a video about animal behavior which was shown in museums in the fall of 2007. Pianist Magazine, based in London, featured her in an article, and a video of her playing was used at the 2007 National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy. Dean Santomieri, an avant-garde musician from San Francisco, used a loop of Nora's playing in an improvised group performance in July 2007. A dance student at a college in Leeds, England gave a solo performance using Nora's music. Betsy Alexander has written a composition called Fur Release: A Prelude for Paws and Hands, incorporating Nora's music. A CD of music with one song incorporating Nora's playing has been released by the Laurel Canyon Animal Company.
- "Betsy & Burnell". "The Story: From Shelter to Show Biz: A Meowmoir". Nora the Piano Cat. Raven's Wing Studio. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
- Whitwell, Tom (March 3, 2007). "Microtrends: Piano-Playing Cats". The Times. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
- Brown, John Robert (Aug–Sep 2008). "Why I Love YouTube". Pianist (63).. Mentioned in: "Pianist Magazine Aug/Sept Issue, Page 63..." (blog). NoraThePianoCat.com. August 21, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
- Mapes, Jen (January 5, 2001). "Do Animals Have an Innate Sense of Music?". National Geographic. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
- Nora's YouTube performance
- Nora YouTube sequel
- Nora's owner's website
- Cat on the Keys CD
- Dean Santomieri website
- Chamber piece composed for Nora by famous Lithuanian composer (catcerto)