The Peabody Post

Morris Moshe Cotel’s Story Inspires Children’s Book by Lesléa Newman

KETZEL_HJAuthor Lesléa Newman’s newest book, Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed, is based on an incident concerning former former chair of the Composition Department Morris Moshe Cotel (’62, Composition). “In 1997, Mr. Cotel heard his cat, Ketzel make her way down the keyboard of his piano. He wrote down what he heard (all 21 seconds of it!) and sent it in to a piano solo competition sponsered by the Paris New Music Review. The piece, Piece for Piano: Four Paws which was attributed to Ketzel Cotel, received an honorable mention. It was performed in the United States and abroad and Ketzel even received a royalty check. Mr. Cotel was amused at his cat’s sudden fame and joked that she was his best pupil,” said Ms. Newman. “When I heard this story, it seemed to me that it was a children’s book just waiting to happen.” The book was published in October by Candlewick Press, and has been named one of the ten best Jewish Children’s Books of the year by The Jewish Journal and Tablet Magazine. Read more on Ms. Newman’s website.

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