P.D.Q. Bach: Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and
||The piano has been an instrumental part of the P.D.Q. Bach
oeuvre right from the very beginning, being featured in
everything from smaller solo piano works such as the Three
Teeny Preludes and the Traumarei for unaccompanied
piano, though chamber music including the Sonata
Innamorata for piano four hands and The “Trite” Quintet,
to major extravaganzas such as The Short-Tempered Clavier,
Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor keys except for
the really hard ones, and the Concerto for Two Pianos vs.
But never before have modern audiences been able to
experience P.D.Q. Bach’s Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and
Orchestra. This piano concerto eluded discovery for more
than 50 years since Prof. Schickele began his exhaustive
research into the music of P.D.Q. Bach only to become the largest new P.D.Q. Bach work
discovered this Century. It brings together a lone piano player
and a complete symphony orchestra containing Trombones, Timpani,
Temple Blocks, Tambourine, and everything.
|Taking on the demanding and daunting piano part is the
renowned pianist who also commissioned Prof. Schickele’s
discovery of the Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and
Orchestra, Jeffrey Biegel (http://www.jeffreybiegel.com/).
This is his story:
“In the 1970s, I was introduced to the
recordings of P.D.Q. Bach in junior high school. I was
immediately transfixed by this music and the legendary
fictitious son of the greatest composer of them all, J.S. Bach.
My recording collection grew as a result, and I joined the
throngs of fans attending the concerts. By chance, in the early
1980s, I noticed Peter Schickele admiring the various posters
outside Lincoln Center and had to stop and say hello. It was a
magical moment for me. Fast forward to winter 2002, when I
approached Peter to consider composing a new work for piano and
orchestra as P.D.Q. Bach for me. He was too busy, and sadly
declined. Following commissioning projects I created with Ellen
Taaffe Zwilich, Charles Strouse, Lowell Liebermann, Richard
Danielpour, William Bolcom and the young master Jake Runestad, I
decided to give it one more try in 2015. In his own words, Peter
said, ‘If I don't do it now, I never will!’. Hence, I created
the P.D.Q. Bach commissioning project. I was not sure how many
orchestras and donors would agree to join this mission, but
alas, fifteen orchestras and many devout followers of P.D.Q.
Bach joined my cause! I never dreamed as a young musician in the
1970s that in 2016, I would bring a new piano concerto to the
public composed for me by P.D.Q. Bach! I am honored and
delighted to bring this new Concerto for Simply Grand Piano
and Orchestra to audiences in the USA and Europe during the
||But piano concertos cannot be commissioned by pianists
alone. In order to bring this piece to light, Jeffrey
Biegel had to marshal the forces of more than a dozen
orchestras, each of whom will be performing this piece with Mr.
Biegel over the course of the next few years.
Colorado Symphony Orchestra (World Premiere)
Jyvaskyla Sinfonia (European Premiere)
Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra
Empire State Youth Orchestra
New Philharmonia (Newton, Massachusetts)
North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
South Shore Symphony Orchestra
Traverse Symphony Orchestra
Youth Orchestras of San Antonio
The combined effort of all of these fine musical groups was
enough to make Prof. Schickele scour the most remote hiding
places of musical manuscripts until he could uncover the
Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra and prepare it
for all of these performances by Jeffrey Biegel.
Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra got its world
premiere with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, who was kind enough to
let this website take pictures of the dress rehearsal, as seen below.
Additional performances continue over the next few years. The first season of
these performances, with dates, locations, and
links for buying tickets, has now been posted on the
Concert Listing page. Find the location nearest you
and don’t miss out on some of the first opportunities to experience
this incredible new P.D.Q. Bach piece. (Note: Prof.
Schickele does not appear in these performances.)
Photos by Susan Peterson copyright 2016 Nitso
Productions unless otherwise indicated.