In Memoriam: Harriet Katz

Harriet Katz died August 14, 2022, at her home in Pikesville, MD. Born in 1944, the daughter of Jerome and Rosalyn Katz of Great Neck, NY, Harriet majored in English at Radcliffe College, and soon began teaching in New York City public schools. In 1968, she moved to Los Angeles, CA, where she spent most of her adult years. She was a writer and editor for publications of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

A lifelong cellist, she began playing music professionally in the 1990’s, teaching cello and founding the Ladies Choice String Quartet, a group which performed at over 1800 events over the years. In 2001, she married Joel O’Brien, a jazz musician and collage artist, whom she had first known in high school. They were very happy together. Unfortunately, he passed away three years later, and the pain from that loss was with her the rest of her days.

In 2006, she began composing music, seeking an outlet for her grief. Despite no formal training in music composition, she composed a number of works, including an opera, over the years. In 2012, she moved to Pikesville, MD, from which she continued her musical composition activities. Her compositions can be found on the internet at She is survived by her brother, Joel Katz, of Arlington, VA and his wife, Mary Detweiler.

Contributions in Harriet’s memory may be made to the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, 1313 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017.