Local Music

Woman Invents New Musical Instrument and Will Debut It at Coral Gables Retirement Home

Finding success in the competitive world of film scoring is challenging enough, but coming up with a completely new type of musical invention to play is likely even more daunting, especially in a universe where seemingly every sound and sample has already found a practical use.

Katherine Quittner deserves credit for having achieved both those ends, building on her success as an award-winning composer and Hollywood music editor with credits that include the scores for such high-profile films as A River Runs Through It, Father of the Bride, Quiz Show, City of Angels, Teenage Mutant Turtles, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Having worked on her craft for the better part of a decade, from 1989 to 2006, this daughter of Coral Gables resident Marjorie Quittner and graduate of the Universitat der Kunst in Berlin (which she attended following undergraduate studies at UCLA) recently developed a website that allows her to share her compositions, concerts, and various experimental endeavors.

Those accomplishments alone would likely make any musician beam with pride, but Quittner clearly wasn’t willing to stop there. Quittner created a new invention: an elaborate electronic keyboard similar to a synthesizer that offers expanded sound. She dubbed it “The Magnetica.” 

“I grabbed the idea for this invention out of the air,” she says. “I spent four years building it in Uruguay, where I lived from 2010 to 2014. It took many years to turn it from a drawing into a real thing, but fortunately I had people helping me in their spare time.”
Citing the cooperation of her collaborators — Alejandra Jimnez, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston; lighting designer Alton Giventer, a resident of Aventura; costume specialist Francesca D’Amore; media and technical director Yulio Baltar, with whom she became acquainted in Uruguay and whom she describes as the godfather of her project; and technical director Camilo Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Miami — Quittner says her prior efforts as a film scorer, particularly the work she did for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, inspired her to create original pieces for the new instrument.

Quittner claims no one in the music world has witnessed the Magnetica in action, although she will give a special invitation-only performance tonight at the Palace, the Coral Gables senior community where her mother currently resides. As for the immediate future, she says she will be devoting herself entirely to creating new original works for the Magnetica, seeing it as an impetus for further developing her talents as both a composer and a performer.

“I think this instrument will add another layer of experimentation for musicians like myself,” she beams. “Like any new invention, it has the potential to heighten the overall creativity of today’s music.” 
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Lee Zimmerman