1940s Gallery
With his cat, Rajah Hoyden, c.1948

Hovhaness adored cats, and believed them to be very intelligent. Here he is pictured with his favourite cat, Rajah Mahatmah Hoyden (1935-1949), originally called Haydn. Long after the cat died the composer's correspondence alludes to ongoing spiritual visitations from it, and he continued to leave milk out for Rajah overnight.

Photograph: courtesy of Frank Ferrante (from the Serafina Ferrante Hovhaness Letters collection)