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American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: B (Part 2 – Bischoff, John W.)

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John Bischoff was an American composer and organist who worked at the First Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. from 1874 until his death in 1909. Blind since the age of two, Bischoff attended the Wisconsin School for the Blind and later studied singing and organ before moving to Washington, D.C. His obituary from the May 30, 1909 edition of the Washington Times states that “his annual concerts at the First Congregational Church have always been musical events of great prominence.”  In a later article from the Times, on June 9 of that year, Bischoff was noted as resenting “the idea that this [blindness] was in any way an affliction. He held to the belief that what he had lost in one way was made up for in others.” Bischoff was also an active teacher in the Washington, DC area, having “thousands” of students.

One of the worlds largest organs. Washington, D.C.
One of the worlds largest organs. Washington, D.C.

We have two compositions by Bischoff in the collection, including:

  • “The Summer Wind” for voice and piano, from Lyric Fancies (BRM20573)
  • Fête Napolitaine: “Tarantelle” for piano (BRM15667)

For those who are looking to learn how to play organ:

  • Method of Organ Playing by Harold Gleason (BRM08548)
  • Ars Organi (Part I, Part II, Part III): Complete Theoretical and Practical Method for Organ Playing by Flor Peeters (BRM20478, BRM20479, BRM20480)
  • Little Organ Book: For Beginners in Organ Playing by Flor Peeters (BRM19545)
  • Plus many more not listed here!

For those who are looking to learn more about organ:

  • The Organ in Sight and Sound by E. Power Biggs (BRM30202)
  • Organ Literature: A Comprehensive Survey by Corliss Richard Arnold (large print – LPM00370)
  • Organ and Reed Family: Articles from the Oxford Companion to Music by Percy Alfred Scholes (BRM11235)
  • The Organ: Its Evolution, Principles of Construction, and Use by William Leslie Sumner (BRM24866)

And for those looking for instruction in popular organ:

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