In 1954 Professor Peter Schickele, rummaging around a Bavarian castle in search of rare musical gems, happened instead upon the original manuscript of a Sanka Cantata by one P.D.Q. Bach, being employed as a strainer in the caretaker's percolator. A cursory examination of the music immediately revealed the reason for the atrocious taste of the coffee; and when the work was finally performed at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, the Professor realized too late that he had released a monster on the musical world. Unable to restrain himself, and with the misguided support of the U. of S.N.D. at H. and otherwise reputable recording and publishing companies, Prof. Schickele has since discovered more than four score of P.D.Q. Bach scores, each one more jaw-dropping than the last, each one another brick in the wall which will someday seal the doom of Musical Culture.
The conspiracy of silence that has surrounded P.D.Q. Bach (1807-1742)? For two centuries began with his own parents. He was the last and the least of the great Johann Sebastian Bach's twenty-odd children, and he was certainly the oddest. His father ignored him completely, setting an example for the rest of the family (and indeed for posterity), with the result that P.D.Q. was virtually unknown during his own lifetime; in fact, the more he wrote, the more unknown he became. He finally attained total obscurity at the time of his death, and his musical output would probably have followed him into oblivion had it not been for the zealous efforts of Prof. Schickele. These efforts have even extended themselves to mastering some of the rather unusual instruments for which P.D.Q. liked to compose, such as the left-handed sewer flute, the windbreaker, and the bicycle.
Since 1965 the tireless Professor has kept audiences in stitches with his presentation of P.D.Q. Bach's uniquely typical music. In addition to his annual concerts in New York City, he has appeared with over fifty orchestras, ranging from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the New York Pick-Up Ensemble; and his self-contained show The Intimate P.D.Q. Bach (featuring the Semi-Pro Musica Antiqua) has played in cities and on campuses from Maine to California.
Prof. Schickele's personal appearances are booked by ICM Artists, 40 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019, (212) 556-6876.
For more information about P.D.Q. Bach or Professor Schickele, please visit
For more information on the dubious works of P.D.Q. Bach, please visit our
Presser Spotlite Page.