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.
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:
Today’s blog celebrates the career of W.C. Handy. Born in Florence, Alabama on November 16, 1873, William Christopher Handy became interested in music at an early age. His father, a minister, felt that music was an unwise career choice for him and, indeed, the young Handy experienced years of poverty and homelessness at first. But […]
This blog takes a look at composers who were affected by World War I and the music that they composed.
When I was a teenager, I began learning about classical music by listening to radio programs in the evening. Often the shows would begin with an overture or “light classic”, such as the Light Cavalry Overture (which our school band played), or the William Tell Overture (the “Lone Ranger” to me). There was also a […]
The following is a guest blog post from the new section head of the NLS Music Section, Juliette Appold. Have you ever thought about listing classical and contemporary composers by their last names from A to Z? How about identifying American composers from A to Z? And how about filling the alphabet with names of […]
Often the blogs we write have something to do with the calendar: a historic event, date of birth or death, etc. but this blog concerns a favorite topic of mine. Going through all the Robert Greenberg courses that the Music Section offers, I found one called “The String Quartets of Beethoven.” So I got the […]
Recently on June 9th-10th, I had the pleasure to present some treasures at the recent “Pride in the Library: LGBTQ+ Voices in the Library of Congress Collections” exhibit. This was in the Jefferson Building and there was great interest in what was on display. The attendance record (2,365 visitors over three days) illustrates the level of […]
We’ve discussed show-tunes, Broadway, and the Great American Songbook on the blog before, but we have yet to talk about perhaps one of the most influential composers of American standards: Irving Berlin, who happens to celebrate his 129th birthday today. Along with penning a few Broadway scores, including the score for Annie Get Your Gun, […]
This April marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. The Library of Congress is commemorating that significant anniversary with exhibits, publications, and other various activities. As part of this commemoration, the NLS Music Section was asked to provide braille music for blind visitors. While going through the collection, we […]
A few weeks ago, I read a discussion on a listserv about different ways for blind musicians to notate and print music. There were many helpful suggestions, mostly on music notational software. As the discussion participants noted, these software can be costly and require tech savvy to use. This post is about a music notation […]