Published 3-8-2017An odd thing happened to me the other day. A neighbor gave me a rusty coin she found. I cleaned it up so I could see what it was and looked it up and it was an Austrian coin dated 1964. The date I recognized immediately as my birth year linking it to me. The Austrian link I didn't know at the time. As it turns out my childhood music teacher was from Austria. I just found out a few days ago because I had been thinking about him for some reason and I found a video of him from one of his former students who mentioned he was from Austria.
What I remember about the man is that he was a genius and held a masters degree in music and a degree in art as a painter. He was ahead of his time and I remember him telling me of his philosophy. He showed me one of his paintings showing a mountain with many paths going to the top. I remember him explaining the different religions on different paths going up the mountain. He said, look at the Lutherans, coming around the corner, you can see his cap sticking up coming around the corner. And look, this other religion you can see his hat coming around the other corner, etc etc. The idea was that all religions were going to the top of the mountain where heaven was. I was very poor and could not afford music lessons, and was only 12 at the time. He gave me free lessons. These were four hours a day. One hour for piano lessons, one hour music composition or composing, one hour music theory, and one hour music history. After that I had to go home and practice the piano for another four hours. This man was very poor himself, so it was truly an unselfish act to give me these free lessons.
Peter H. Katz was the founder of the "Parnassus Academy of the Arts" in Northglenn Colorado from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s.
Peter was a real Renaissance man; he single handedly taught Piano, singing, Music Theory, composition, fencing, painting, drawing, chess and writing.
He hailed from Austria and still spoke with an accent and was intellectually adroit and highly philosophical... This movie charts his sudden move from his studio at Hillcrest plaza on 104th ave in Suburban Northglenn.. (One wonders why he wound up in Northglenn from Austria??)
I was a piano student of his back in 1976 and he allowed me to film the process of his move, of which he was very philosophical.
Sadly, it took my 37 years to get around to editing this film, which filled me with emotion, much of which stems from my awareness that i am getting close to the age now that he was in the film (60), but mainly the sadness that I never saw him again and was never able to give him the completed film as a gift, or a promotional tool.
I think about him often... He would be 97 now, if by some miracle he was still alive.
A toast to Peter Katz, a man decades ahead of his time.
-Sam Klemke, November 15th, 2013