In Previous Composers of the Month

In a month that Mozart’s son has a birthday, as does Mahler, Orff, Field, Gluck and a goodly bunch of others, it’s time, given the historic nature of Carolina Music Museum’s collection, that we recognize the birthday of Bach’s “youngest and oddest” 21st child, P.D.Q. Bach, better known to classical music lovers as Peter Schickele. Schickele, a graduate of Julliard with an M.S. in Music Composition, is the composer of more than 100 works for symphony orchestra, choral and chamber groups, voice and film and is the winner of four Grammy Awards.  But, it is his “clever parodies of baroque and classical music”, written under this particular Bach’s name, that have earned him those four Grammy Awards, one for Best Comedy Performance/Album. Among the huge repertory of P.D.Q Bach’s oeuvre uncovered by the diligent Schickele are such challenging works as “The Abduction of Figaro, Canine Cantata: ‘Wachet Arf!'” (S. K9), “Good King Kong Looked Out, the Trite Quintet” (S. 6 of 1), “O Little Town of Hackensack”, “A Little Nightmare Music”, the cantata, “Iphigenia in Brooklyn” and perhaps best known of all, the dramatic oratorio, “Oedipus Tex”, featuring the O.K. Chorale.

Schickele, an accomplished bassoonist, was also a member of the chamber rock trio Open Window, which wrote and performed music for the revue “Oh! Calcutta!” Schickele’s two children, Matt and Karla, have been members of various indie rock bands, including Beekeeper, Ida, K, and M Shanghai String Band. [4] His brother was the film director and musician David Schickele (d. 1999).

(We are indebted to Classic Cat for the above and we would direct you to their website,, for more information on Schickele and other classical composers.)

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