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The One Face of P.D.Q. Bach

18th Century Composer

Read lyrics of P.D.Q. Bach compositions


Just as smoke signals gave way to the telephone, the august but paleolithic Peter Schickele Rag has given way to a Web site devoted to Peter Schickele, Prof. Schickele, and P.D.Q. Bach.  All the features that the Rag featured will be featured on this Web site, which will be updated even more frequently than the Rag was published—that’s right, even more frequently.  Featured features include crosspuzz wordles, complete information about the concertizing activities, plus ordering information for whatever merchandising rip-offs are being made available.



2009/2010 Concerts Announced (posted September 5, 2009)

The paint is hardly dry on the schedule for the 2009/2010 P.D.Q. Bach concert season, but that hasn’t prevented this Web site from listing the dates on its Concert Schedule page, even for a few events where the time and location is still unknown.  Because ready or not, this concert season will be bringing the music of P.D.Q. Bach to many cities around the country.

In fact, seven different cities have decided to go ahead and schedule performances of P.D.Q. Bach & Peter Schickele: The Jekyll and Hyde Tour even after being warned about such works as the Four Next-to-Last Songs and Songs from Shakespeare by the recent Telarc CD.  This program features singers Michèle Eaton and David Düsing in addition to Prof. Schickele who, between January and April of 2010, will be taking this tour from Dayton, Ohio through Goshen, IndianaAustin, TexasKill Devil Hills, North CarolinaKerrville, Texas; and even Davis, California before arriving in San Francisco, California. These same performers, along with keyboarder Margaret Kampmeier, have also signed up for P.D.Q. Bach: The “What’s Your Sign?” Tour, and will be taking this show from Princeton, New Jersey to Englewood, New Jersey.

There are also some orchestras and choirs that have invited Prof. Schickele to join them in some P.D.Q. Bach concerts, especially in Texas.  The Baylor Symphony Orchestra in Waco, Texas will be hosting P.D.Q. Bach: The Vegas Years and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be defending themselves against P.D.Q. Bach:  An Afternoon of Musical Mayhem.  The Houston Chamber Choir will be performing many P.D.Q. Bach choral works including the Choral Cantata “Knock, Knock”.

This year’s concert schedule, as in past years, also includes several annual events.  While last month many people celebrated the Fortieth Anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, which did not in fact take place in Woodstock, this December a few other people will celebrate the Fourth Annual Bearsville Theatre holiday performance by Peter Schickele with Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine, which does in fact take place in Woodstock.  Later in the season, the Armadillo String Quartet’s annual Music of Peter Schickele concert in Pasadena, California will reach its Twentieth Annual performance, a milestone so significant that this time they’ve added another whole Music of P.D.Q. Bach concert.  So far few details are available about these annual events, but for almost all of the other events described above, plus the performance of Mr. Schickele’s The Emperor’s New Clothes by An Die Musik in New York City which is not described above, the exact dates, locations, and information about ordering tickets can be found on the Concert Listing page.



Even More 2008/2009 Concerts Announced (posted March 29, 2009)

In what may very well turn out to be the last additions to the 2008/2009 concert season schedule before the end of the season, two new concerts have just appeared on the concert page.  The first of these concerts is the latest entry in the Armadillo String Quartet’s long running series of annual concerts of Peter Schickele’s chamber music.  This 19th entry in the series features the world premiere of Barry Socher’s string quartet arrangement of Mr. Schickele’s Brass Calendar, along with several past favorites such as String Quartet No. 5, “A Year in the Country”.  This year’s addition to the record-breaking string of concerts will take place April 20 in Pasadena, California.

Then to extend the 2008/2009 concert season more than two months beyond what was previously planned, The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has bravely scheduled a performance of  P.D.Q. Bach & Peter Schickele:  The Jekyll and Hyde Tour for the evening of June 30.  This perennial favorite includes pieces such as the Four Next-To-Last Songs and Songs from Shakespeare that were heard on the recent CD of the same name, as well as pieces such as Shepherd on the Rocks, With a Twist that were not.  Since June 30 is the last day of the 2008/2009 season, it is very possible that the next announcement of new concerts on these pages will actually be for the 2009/2010 season. 



More 2008/2009 Concerts Announced (posted November 20, 2008)

As with previous concert seasons, the 2008/2009 season is not something that can be announced with complete accuracy at the beginning of the season, but has to be modified throughout the year as new information comes in.  This time the new information adds three more concerts that were previously unknown, even though one of them has been going on for two years and we hinted before might become an annual event:  the Woodstock, New York holiday music and comedy concert where Peter Schickele shares a double bill with poet Mikhail Horowitz and guitarist Gilles Malkine.  This year’s edition of the now-definitely-annual bash takes place on December 13

Later in the season and towards the end of the year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Schickele’s Lincoln at Ease will be performed by New York City’s Little Orchestra Society and narrated by none other than James Earl Jones.  This entry in the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration will happen on February 28.  And even later in the season brings a world premiere:  a woodwind quintet that Mr. Schickele wrote for the Blair Woodwind Quintet will be performed by them in their own hometown of Nashville, Tennessee on March 16.  Then if any more new concerts pop up this season, they too will be added to the concert page and announced right here.



2008/2009 Concerts Announced (posted August 23, 2008 too)

The just announced just now 2008/2009 Concert Season may have fewer concerts than last year, but it still manages to fit in two different performances of P.D.Q. Bach & Peter Schickele:  The Jekyll and Hyde Tour (one at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio on February 22nd, the other in The Plains, Virginia on April 26);  two miscellaneous programs with Peter Schickele chamber music (one also at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio but on February 21st, the other a performance of The Emperor’s New Clothes at TheTimesCenter on April 27);  a special Christmas concert with the San Francisco Symphony in their own home town of San Francisco on December 20th;  and, in what is turning out to be an biennial event, a concert performance of P.D.Q. Bach’s The Abduction of Figaro on the composer’s birthday (this year’s one being on his 267th birthday and in Greeley, Colorado).  You won’t want to miss all of them, so try to miss only most of them, by checking out the details on the Concert Listing Page.



Peter Schickele Music on Performance Today (posted August 23, 2008)

The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is underway again, and to kick it off, Jon Kimura Parker (as heard on the Two Pianos Are Better Than One CD) appeared on American Public Media’s Performance Today with a highlight from last year’s 10th anniversary festival:  Peter Schickele’s Music For Orcas Island.  Audio archives are posted on the Performance Today Web site for only a very short time, but if it isn’t already too late, you can hear the complete premiere performance of Music For Orcas Island and Jon Kimura Parker’s discussion about the commissioning and rehearsal process at



“Lincoln at Ease” on Kentucky Television (posted June 29, 2008)

Peter Schickele’s recent composition about the lighter side of President Abraham Lincoln was premiered at the Kentucky Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 11th this year, as part of the kickoff for festivities celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday.  This Lincoln Bicentennial Gala concert was recorded by television station KET and will be broadcast on Kentucky public television starting in July.  The first broadcasts will be on Sunday, July 6 at 9:00 p.m. ET on KET2 and Tuesday, July 8 at 9:00 pm ET on KET1.  The performance of Mr. Schickele’s piece, Lincoln at Ease, features banjo player Tony Trischka and the Louisville Orchestra under the baton of Jorge Mester.  Those in the Kentucky viewing area can find more details at the KET TV Web site (



Even More Concerts Also Coming Up (posted May 12, 2008)

Just as it looked like Peter Schickele’s 2007/2008 concert season was not only coming to a close but finally had all of the new events added to the schedule, two more concerts have appeared that somehow managed to stay off the radar until they were almost upon us.  Hiding right between the May and June concerts previously mentioned is a concert in Tacoma, Washington that features P.D.Q. Bach’s The Seasonings.  Or to put it another way, on June 1st, 2008, the grand oratorio that features the fateful words “soothsayer, say unto me the sooth” will be performed in “The City of Destiny” with the inevitable introduction by Prof. Schickele.

And then to extend the 2007/2008 season even further into 2008, on July 5th, Mr. Schickele will be the guest of Nexus, the ensemble who were recently heard on the recording of Mr. Schickele’s Percussion Sonata No. 2 “Woodstock”, which refers to Woodstock, New York, the woodland home of Maverick Concert Hall, which will host this 17th annual Woodstock Beat benefit concert, where Mr. Schickele will be narrating several works including Nexus’ new score to Teddy At The Throttle, the 1916 Mack Sennett silent movie classic staring Gloria Swanson.  This should indeed be the last concert of the 2007/2008 season, but if it turns out not to be again, we will post new information right here.



More Concerts Coming Up (posted April 7, 2008)

Just as it looked like Peter Schickele’s 2007/2008 concert season was coming to a close, some new events have been added to the schedule in April, May, and even June.  The soonest coming up one is a live interview conducted by Nancy Shear for Music For All Seasons.  This gala fundraiser takes place at The National Arts Club in New York City on April 14

Coming up after that, when you least expect it, is the Armadillo String Quartet’s annual Music of Peter Schickele concert, which this year, their 18th in a row, takes place on May 5th in Pasadena, California.  More details will be posted once the shroud of secrecy has been lifted, but based on past years’ performances, you can expect the Armadillo String Quartet (still recovering from their appearance on the recent CD P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele:  The Jekyll and Hyde Tour) and friends to fit as much Peter Schickele chamber music into this concert as is humanly possible.

Another West Coast group playing Peter Schickele music this season will be Chamber Music Northwest, which will feature his music in four concerts during the first week of their summer festival in Portland, Oregon.   The first two of these concerts, on June 26th and 27th, will include the Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, the Suite from “The Rivals”, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with Mr. Schickele’s own narrations.  Mr. Schickele will also narrate Carnival of the Animals in a special children’s concert on June 29th, and in between these events, he has managed to sneak in a performance of P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele:  The Jekyll and Hyde Tour, with original cast members Michèle Eaton and David Düsing on June 28th.  For all of these concerts, except where the shroud of secrecy still applies, more details and useful links now can be found on the Concert Schedule page.


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