Peter Schickele 1935-2024

We are very sad to hear of the passing of composer, satirist, and iconic performer Peter Schickele. He was a part of the Opus 3 family for several decades, beginning with ICM Artists, and continued to make audiences roar with laughter for many years with his infamous P.D.Q. Bach character and other efforts to lighten the perceived stuffiness of classical music. Peter was also an accomplished composer, writing more than 100 symphonic, choral, solo instrumental and chamber works as well as compositions for film and theater . Peter’s music was performed by the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and other notable ensembles, as well as by the folk singers Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie, for whom he wrote arrangements. He was a delight to work with and his long and varied career is a testament to both his prolific composing and joyous sense of humor.

From The New York Times:
For more than a half century, through live performances seemingly born of the marriage of Mozart, the Marx Brothers and Rube Goldberg; prizewinning recordings; and even a book-length biography, P.D.Q. Bach (“the only dead composer from whom one can commission,” Mr. Schickele liked to say) remained enduringly, fiendishly alive.

Leaping from Mr. Schickele’s pen in P.D.Q.’s name were compositions like the “No-No Nonette,” the cantata “Iphigenia in Brooklyn,” the “Unbegun” Symphony and “Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle and Balloons.”

With these and myriad other works, Mr. Schickele, who billed himself as P.D.Q.’s “discoverer,” gleefully punctured the reverent pomposity that can attend classical-music culture.
“At his frequent best, Mr. Schickele can lay claim to a leading role in the ever-more-prominent school of composers who un-self-consciously blend all levels of American music,” John Rockwell wrote in The New York Times in 1987. “William Bolcom has attracted deserved attention for his works of this deliberately eclectic sort, and Mr. Schickele deserves some of that same attention.”

Read the full obituary.