The Muse, a concept from Greek mythology, is the inspiration which leads an artist to create. The musician known as The Great Kat has followed one freaky muse.
Her music runs outside my usual musical focus of singer/songwriter and country, but the phrase “Beethoven Mosh” caught my eye. Beethoven has been part of my aesthetic since college. A bust of Beethoven sits in the hallway outside my office. And The Great Kat channels Beethoven. I had to find out more.
The Great Katherine
Before this creative lady was The Great Kat, she was Katherine Thomas. Coming from a musical family, she was trained at Juilliard in classical violin. She began her transition from drawing room to mosh pit in the 1980s, interacting with pop-culture celebs such as Timothy Leary and Joan Rivers. Multiple organizations acknowledge her as the world’s fastest guitar player, and she transforms classical into thrash metal. She yells a lot but did stop to answer a few questions.
Did you wake up one day and decide that you were going to reinvent yourself? Did you reach a dead end or was this a gradual evolution?
After graduating from The Juilliard School with honors as a violinist, performing as a violin soloist at Carnegie Recital Hall, and touring the U.S., Mexico, and England as a solo violinist, I realized that classical music was dead and needed to be updated with popular music. After searching, I found metal music and came to the realization that Beethoven was actually the first metalhead! The powerful, pounding, and aggressive music of Beethoven mixed perfectly with the raw aggression of metal. I began transcribing classical violin solos to the guitar and became the first guitar/violin goddess.
When you first told someone about your idea, what was their reaction?
Who cares! Do you think Wagner cared about what someone thought about doing six-hour operas?
I do really like your Wagner “The Ride Of The Valkyries” adaptation and how elaborate all your videos are. How long do they take to plan and produce?
Several weeks of planning, filming, and editing, because The Great Kat is the guitar/violin virtuoso performing on all my videos and the video director, producer, and editor.
A Clockwork Orange, in which Beethoven’s music plays a major role, was my favorite film in college. How did you discover Beethoven?
A Clockwork Orange is a genius film with its use of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. I discovered Beethoven by listening to Beethoven since birth. Literally a baby listening to Beethoven’s “Egmont” and singing along with it.
There are no tours listed on your website. Do you still take it on the road?
I’m in the recording/film studio 24 hours a day with Beethoven recordings and videos, but stay tuned to my website for future Great Kat live show news.
Do you have a favorite band? Classic or playing now?
Who cares when Beethoven is the ultimate in “gorgeousity” of music!
What do you think Beethoven would think of your interpretations?
Beethoven would be thanking The Great Kat for single-handedly and systematically updating, editing, arranging, and condensing his genius music for the entire world. And never backing off! That’s the whole point of The Great Kat. To geniusize you with Beethoven.
Thank you for “geniusizing” me.
Happy Beethoven’s 250th birthday! Shred on!
Beethoven in Leather and Spikes
You can see a teaser of her work below where she plays “Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony for Guitar and Symphony Orchestra.” More samples live on YouTube.
If you like having your brain’s classical engrams supercharged, find The Great Kat on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Her website contains links to more places than I could count, and you can learn a few things about Beethoven there. She also maintains presences on Twitter and Instagram .