Who knew PDQ Bach was still alive?

Who knew PDQ Bach was still alive?


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2016

And has composed a new piano concerto?

The fictitious composer, who enjoyed a busy career in the 1960s and 1970s, has written a concerto for Jeffrey Biegel.

The following orchestras co-commissioned the work:

Colorado Symphony Orchestra (World Premiere)
Jyvaskyla Sinfonia (European Premiere)
Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra
Austin Symphony
Empire State Youth Orchestra
Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra
New Philharmonic (Newton, Massachusetts)
North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra Kentucky
Philharmonia Northwest
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Oregon)
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
South Shore Symphony Orchestra
Traverse Symphony Orchestra
Youth Orchestras of San Antonio


  • G. Thomas says:

    Gotta Love The Professor.

  • Alex Klein says:

    I am surprised and a bit disappointed that conductor Walter Bruno and the Greater Hoople Area Off-Season Philharmonic were not mentioned on that list. Their magnificent recording of the composer’s 1712 Overture is legendary.

    • William Safford says:


    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      Unfortunately, Walter has overbooked his next three seasons with works by LOL Bach, OMG Bach, and TNT Bach. He’s planning on explosive performances mixed with humor and ‘Oh my God’ effects. We’ll pitch the ‘Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra’ to the Maestro Bruno for 2020. By then, he should have a ‘clearer vision’ of that season.

  • RClaeys says:

    I think the Professor is overdue for a new vocal work for his esteemed OK Chorale.

  • William Safford says:

    The Good Professor took a brief break from his work at the Department of Musical Pathology at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, to bring the musical stylings of PDQ Bach back to New York City last December, for two concerts at Town Hall. I attended one, with a friend who is a professional musician and music teacher but PDQ neophyte. Much merriment ensued.

    I am pleased that PDQ remains the only deceased composer who not only can still receive a commission, but can still produce the music (if you can call it that).

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      Great, William! I have to say, yes, this is quite a concerto. It brings back to mind the Concerto for Horn and Hardart and Eine Kleine Nichtmusik. It is, perhaps, one of his strongest offerings of his entire career, good bad and indifferent LOL!! (Yes, LOL Bach was the Leipzig Laughing Man, opened the Bach Comedy Club in Leipzig. It was then that the entire Bach family turned their ‘back’ on that ‘bach’!)

      • William Safford says:

        I look forward to hearing you perform it. (I assume you will perform it with all the commissioning ensembles?)

        Fun piece of trivia: I went to grade school with several scions of the Hardart family. I don’t recall now if I ever discussed the Concerto with any of them. I never got to hear it live, but I did own the LP then (and still do).

  • Alvaro says:

    So, classical musicians have been using cheap “insiders only” humor (sometimes more tactfully than others) to “reach out to new audiences” (gag) for about 50 years now……yet audiences keep on eroding.

    Looks like nobody knew these clown was alive bc you are way too busy with todays clowns: Ig & Joo, The entire roster of Sony Classical, and every “crossover” group who thinks playing pop or Metal in a bassoon is a good idea.

    50 years, and the industry cannot come up with a better solution than “sugar coat mozart in between a couple of fart jokes”

    Yet we call these “creative industries”.

    I call into question the “research” that links Bach or Music education with creativity….

  • Michael Gornish says:

    This is preposterous. Anyone (who is still alive and kicking) who was fortunate to have heard Peter Schickele’s first concerts of PDQ Bach’s music in the mid- 1960’s knows that PDQ’s music was not the invention of Prof. Schickele’s fevered mind. They had been discovered by him while rummaging through various and sundry trash heaps. Professor Schickele was able, by means of his intimate understanding of this most elusive of the late Baroque composers, to reconstruct some of the fragmentary works found. So any talk about ‘commissioning’ a work by PDQ Bach is highly suspect.