American composer, teacher and musical comedian Peter Schickele was born on 17 July 1935 in Ames, Iowa, to Alsatian parents. He grew up in Washington DC and in Fargo, North Dakota, where his composition teacher was Sigvald Thompson. He studied music at Swarthmore College and composition at Juilliard, where Roy Harris was one of his teachers and Philip Glass a fellow classmate.
An early interest in Spike Jones led Schickele to create a humorous concert at Juilliard, which became an annual event, growing into a popular event at Avery Fisher Hall.
Schickele is most famous for creating parodies of classical works under the name of an invented composer P D Q Bach, supposedly the youngest of J S Bach's sons. He also created a series of 'forgotten' works in P D Q Bach's name, such as the Sinfonia Concertante for Lute, Bagpipes and Orchestra, and also a series of crazy instruments such as the hardart, tromboon, lasso d'amore, tuba mirum and dill piccolo. His P D Q Bach concerts have become famous through recordings and Schickele's tours (during which he often swung onto stage using a rope).
Schickele's parodies have, to some extent, overshadowed his more than a hundred original works for chamber ensemble, choirs, film, orchestra, school band, TV and voice.
A selection of M&V articles about Peter Schickele
Ensemble. 'Fantasia' Around The World - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the big screen in Rome