Harriet Katz

Composer • Cellist • BCF Officer

Composer and cellist Harriet Katz moved to Baltimore in 2012 from Los Angeles, where her Ladies Choice String Quartet has performed at more than 1800 events over the years, including Oprah’s 50th birthday luncheon.

Born in New York in 1944, Harriet started piano at 5, which didn’t take, and cello at 9, which did. But she didn’t make music her profession until later in life. An English major (Harvard-Radcliffe ’66), in the early ‘70s she wrote for and edited American Civil Liberties Union publications. In 1976 she was one of the original non-lawyers appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the governing body of the State Bar of California, to represent the interests of the general public and the consumers of legal services vis-à-vis the legal profession. In 1986 Bantam published her novel “Ambitions,” about classical musicians.

She started doing music full-time in the ‘90s, teaching cello, founding and building Ladies Choice String Quartet, which grew to a circle of more than 20 women string players, and playing in various orchestras and ensembles.

She started composing in 2006. Her first two compositions were accepted by the music division of the Union for Reform Judaism. Her opera “Ruth and Naomi,” a feminist, magical take on the Book of Ruth, was presented in concert version by University Synagogue in Los Angeles in 2011. Ten years earlier, she and jazz musician Joel O’Brien (they knew each other in high school) were very fortunate to re-meet, fall in love, and get married. He died in 2004. It is from this love and loss that the opera started to emerge.

Retiring from Ladies Choice String Quartet, Harriet moved back to the East Coast to be closer to family. She plays in the Columbia and Baltimore Philharmonia orchestras.