David Teie: Music for Cats


David Teie comes from a long line of musicians. As a cellist, he has given eighteen solo performances with the National Symphony Orchestra including a U.S. tour under Russian maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, who chose David to become a member of that orchestra. As acting principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony in 1999, he played lead cello on Metallica’s album, S&M. From 2014 – 2016 he was the conductor and music director of Washington D.C.’s premier chamber orchestra, the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and currently serves on the faculty at University of Maryland’s School of Music. His research and theoretical work has been published by the Royal Society in Biology Letters and by Oxford University Press in Evolution of Emotional Communication. His invention of species-specific music was described by the New York Times as the number one idea of 2009.

MusicforCats was born out of David Teie’s scientific theory on the fundamental nature of music appreciation by mammals. He contended that every species has an intuitive biological response to sounds based on their brain development and vocalizations. Since the cat’s brain is only 1/8 the size at birth of what it will be at 10 weeks, felines establish their sense of music through the sounds heard after they’re born such as suckling for milk, or their mother’s purr. With this premise, Teie composed music for cats, incorporating feline-centric sounds and their natural vocalizations and matching it to a cat’s frequency range. An independent study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and published in Applied Animal Behavior Science verified that Music for Cats resonates conclusively with its audience, writing that “cats showed a significant preference for and interest in species-appropriate music.”