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Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 3 series. I. Series I: Works Composed under Peter Schickele, 1955-2013 II. Series II: Works Composed under P.D.Q. Bach, 1966-2012 III. Series III: Memorabilia, 1874-1999.
The collection contains manuscript scores, sketches, and printed scores of works by Schickele composed under his name as well as under the fictional P.D.Q. Bach. Works composed under Schickele's name are arranged in Series I: Works Composed under Peter Schickele, 1955-2013. Pieces by P.D.Q. Bach are presented in Series II: Works Composed under P.D.Q. Bach., 1966-2012. Newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and other materials are found in Series III: Memorabilia, 1874-1999.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Peter Schickele Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additional material is expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed by Orit Hilewicz (GSAS 2017), 2016.
Finding aid written by Orit Hilewicz (GSAS 2017), 2016.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Peter Schickele was born in Ames, Iowa in 1935. In 1945, the family relocated to Washington, D.C., after Schickele's father took a teaching position at George Washington University. In 1946 the family relocated to Fargo, North Dakota, where Peter Schickele attended Fargo Central High School, graduating in 1952, and studied composition with Sigvald Thompson. Following his high-school graduation, Schickele enrolled in Swarthmore College, where he graduated in 1957. He was the first student in the history of the university, and the only student in his class, with a degree in music. Schickele then enrolled in the M.S. of composition program at the Juilliard School.
While at Juilliard, Schickele teamed up with conductor Jorge Mester to perform a humorous concert, which introduced the fictitious character of P.D.Q. Bach, the unknown son of composer Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as the fictitious Professor Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, who discovered P.D.Q. Bach's works and arranged them for performance. The success of the first concert led to an annual event, and in 1965 Schickele moved the concert to New York City Town Hall and opened it to the public. The event became so popular by 1972 that it was moved to Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center. Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach recordings earned him four consecutive wins of the Grammy Award for Best Comedy in 1990-1993.
Schickele composed music by commission under his own name as well as P.D.Q. Bach for the National Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Minnesota Opera, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Audubon and Lark String Quartets, the Minnesota Orchestral Association, and other organizations. He also hosted an educational radio program called Schickele Mix, which was broadcast on many public radio stations in the United States. While the show lasted until the late 1990s, rebroadcasts continued until 2007.