David Teie is one of the third generation of musicians. He began his cello studies with Johan Lingeman, and old-world musician who had played in the Concertgebouw under Gustav Mahler, learned to practice under the guidance of Ronald McCreery, and later studied cello with Stephen Kates at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the Wertheimer award for cellists; he also studied with William Pleeth in London on a Fulbright scholarship. He joined the National Symphony in 1984 and has since played nineteen concerto performances with the NSO, twelve of them with Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich conducting, including performances on three U.S. tours. He studied with Rostropovich privately for six years. He spent the 1999–2000 season as acting principal cellist of the San Francisco Symphony.
As a composer, Teie has composed the string music for an album by Echobrain (founded by Jason Newsted, Metallica’s former bassist), the NSO commissioned and premiered his Fuga Eroica, and he performed his Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra with the Anchorage Symphony. His flute concerto was premiered in 2010 with the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and he served as the conductor and Music Director of that orchestra from 2013–2016.
His research involving music and cognition has led to published articles in Biology Letters of the Royal Society and Applied Animal Behavior Science and a chapter in the Oxford University Press book Evolution of Emotional Communication that contains the only comprehensive theory of the origins and affective processes of music that has passed peer review. His research led to invitations to speak at the 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition and at the Washington Academy of Sciences. His species-specific music, the first and only music that has elicited appropriate responses from another species in a controlled study, was listed as the New York Times #1 idea of the year in 2009. In 2016 his theoretical paper “The Prenatal Roots of Music” was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology Auditory Cognition Neuroscience.
Teie may be best known for composing music for cats. Two studies, one undertaken at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the other at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Sciences have shown the music is effective in calming cats in both in-home and in clinical settings. He signed an artist agreement with Universal Records, making MusicforCats the first music for any species other than human to be available from a major record company and its release was the only music for animals to reach the Billboard top 40.
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