Peter Schickele

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Johann Peter Schickele (born July 17, 1935) is an American composer, musical educator and parodist. He is best known for his comedy music albums featuring his music that he presents as music written by the fictional composer P. D. Q. Bach.

Contents

Biography

Schickele was born in Ames, Iowa, to Alsatian immigrant parents, and brought up in Washington, D.C., and Fargo, North Dakota, where he studied composition with Sigvald Thompson. Graduating from Fargo Central High in 1952 and then graduating with a degree in music from Swarthmore College in 1957, he was the first student at Swarthmore and the only student in his class with such a degree. He graduated from the Juilliard School with an M.S. in musical composition; in the ensuing years he has frequently cited Roy Harris as the most influential of his teachers.

Career

Schickele has composed more than 100 original works for symphony orchestra, choral groups, chamber ensemble, voice, film (e.g. Silent Running and animated adaptations of Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen)[1], and television. He has also written music for school bands, as well as a number of folk musicians, most notably Joan Baez (for whom he also orchestrated and arranged three albums during the mid-1960s, Noël, Joan, and Baptism). He has also written a number of musicals, and has organized numerous concert performances as both musical director and performer. Schickele is active on the international and North American concert circuit.

Schickele's musical creations have won him multiple awards. His extensive body of work is marked by a distinctive style which integrates the European classical tradition with an unmistakable American idiom. As a musical educator he also hosted the classical music educational radio program Schickele Mix which was broadcast on many public radio stations in the United States. Lack of funding ended the production of new programs in the late 1990s, and rebroadcasts of the existing programs finally ceased in June 2007.[2] Only 119 of the 169 programs were in the rebroadcast rotation, because earlier shows contained American Public Radio production IDs rather than ones crediting Public Radio International. In March 2006, some of the other "lost episodes" were added back to the rotation, with one notable program remnant of the Periodic Table of Musics, listing the names of musicians and composers as mythical element names in a format reminiscent of the Periodic table.[3]

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