Symphony celebrates musical parody with PDQ Bach Pops Concert

Symphony celebrates musical parody with PDQ Bach Pops Concert


Join Maestro Steven Larsen, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the “O.K. Chorale” (also known as the Mendelssohn Chorale) for a hilarious evening of musical parody, including such favorites as “The Hindenburg Concerto,” “The Canine Cantata,” “Fanfare for the Common Cold,” “The Seasonings,” and more. The RSO’s final Pops Concert of the 2002-03 season, “PDQ Bach,” will be performed at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 12 at the Coronado Theatre.

According to legend, PDQ Bach was the last and the least of the great Johann Sebastian Bach’s 20-odd children, and he was certainly the oddest. Lost in well-deserved obscurity for centuries, his compositions have been “rediscovered” to the delight of symphony audiences across the country. Actually, PDQ Bach is the brainchild of composer and musicologist Peter Schickele, who has made a name for himself in the classical music world by assembling satires of some of the canon’s most well-known works.

As part of this light-hearted look at one of the world’s best-loved composers, Music Director Steven Larsen will assume a new role. In addition to his duties as conductor and “ring-master” for this evening of musical pandemonium, he will make his performance debut on the violin. Larsen will join assistant concertmistress Rachel Handlin on a piece titled, Konzertschtick for Two Violins with Orchestra.

“In the music world we have a tendency to take ourselves very seriously,” said Larsen. “This concert allows us to play great music, but have a great deal of fun, too.”

The RSO’s Pops Concert, “PDQ Bach,” features an array of well-known vocalists in solo roles, including Joel Ross, Jerry and Kathy Stevens and Diana Fry. These talented performers have been very active on the local music scene, appearing at New American Theater, Starlight Theatre, Clock Tower Dinner Theater, and the Mendelssohn Club. The 110-voice Mendelssohn Chorale, directed by Martha Bein, also lends its talents to the “tongue-in-cheek” symphonies.

Single tickets for the “PDQ Bach” Pops Concert are available for $14 or $26, student tickets (up to age 18) are $6. “PDQ Bach,” part of the Rockford Health System Pops Series, is sponsored by SwedishAmerican Health System. More information: RSO Box Office, 965-0049 or Web site:

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