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Youth Orchestra Encouraging Laughter At Next Performance

Contributed photo
Peter Schickele, right, and the fictitious PDQ Bach.

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio is doing something it doesn't normally do, said music director Troy Peters.


“We're focusing on musical comedy. On classical music that'll make you laugh out loud,” he said.

Bach plays a major role in this concert, but it's not Johann Sebastian Bach — it's PDQ Bach.

"PDQ Bach is a fictitious composer,” he said. “The American humorist and composer Peter Schickele invented him back in the 1960s. It's a new piece of music that he ... 'discovered' from PDQ Bach, a hilarious concerto for piano and orchestra that has slapstick, and sight gags, and quotes from other famous music and lots of surprises."

IF YOU GO What: Youth Orchestra San Antonio concert Where: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts When: 7 p.m. Sunday Cost:  $5-$22

Peters looked around for other examples of classical music that also happened to be funny, and said they weren’t too hard to find.

"Bernstein's ‘Overture to Candide’ is from a musical comedy, from a Broadway musical that's hilarious. And this music is full of bubbles and laughter,” he said.

Peters said YOSA will also perform Zoltan Kodaly’s ”Hary Janos” Suite, which is from a comic opera.

“It opens with a musical sneeze, and you can hear that in the orchestra," Peters said.

He added that kids being allowed to invoke humor in places an audience wouldn’t expect is good for the young musicians.

“Being given permission to let loose and make people laugh is really liberating. So it's fun for the orchestra,” he said.

The comedic concert is Sunday at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

“It's great music. It's serious music. But it's serious fun,” he said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org