Bichsel, M. Alfred Collection, 1933-1992


  • Collection Number, A-0010
  • Collection Size 14.7 linear feet

There are eight sections to this finding aid:

Biographical Sketch:

Marcel Alfred Bichsel was born October 2, 1909 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland to Alfred B. and Melusine Bichsel.  He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1937 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree and was subsequently ordained into the ministry. He received a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Seminary in New York in 1942 and was later presented with a Docteur es-Lettres degree from the University of Strasbourg, France. From 1937 to 1943, Dr. Bichsel was an Instructor of Music and foreign languages at Concordia College in Bronxville , NY . In this capacity, he conducted the choir, band and orchestra of the institution and taught courses in music theory appreciation and French. He also served as the organist and choirmaster at the Church of the Redeemer, Boyd and Barnes Avenue, Bronx . NY.

From September 1943 to 1960, Dr. Bichsel was the Professor of Music and Director of Music at Valparaiso University , Valparaiso Indiana . There he organized the Chapel Choir and played a major role in the development of the university's annual Church Music Seminar. He simultaneously lectured at the former Chicago Musical College . At the time of his departure in 1960, he held the rank of professor of music and was also the director of music at the University Memorial Chapel.

In 1960, Bichsel was appointed chairman of the department of church music and professor of church music at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, NY. At this time, the Eastman School of Music expanded its program into the graduate field, conferring sixteen Master of Music degrees and six Doctor of Musical Art degrees within five years. Dr. Bichsel also served as Professor of Music at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School . In addition, he was a director of the Eastman Polyphonic Choir, and Director of Music of Samuel Colgate Memorial Chapel. . Thereafter, he served as Professor Emeritus and Advisor to Doctor of Musical Arts students in performances and literature. He left Eastman in 1975.

Throughout his life, Dr. Bichsel treasured his pastoral calling and served several LCMS congregations as Assistant Pastor.

He and his wife, Jean (nee Nehring), have one daughter Yvonne Bichsel Truhon.  Dr. Bichsel died on February 15, 1992.  His wife, Jean, died February 14, 1999.  Their remains are interred across the street from Concordia College , New York in the outdoor columbarium of the Village Lutheran Church .


  • Concordia Collegiate Institute, Bronxville , NY - Diploma -1933
  • Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis , MO - B.D. 1937
  • Union Theological Seminary, New York , NY - M.S.M -1942
  • Graduate Studies at:
        • New York University - Julliard School of Music
        • Eastman School of Music , Rochester , NY
        • American Institute of Musicology in Rome
  •     University of Strasbourg , Strasbourg , France - Docteur es Lettres, 1948

Scope and Content Notes :

This collection is arranged into sixteen categories for better accessibility to the researcher. These groups are: Bibliographies, Boys Town, Chants, Correspondence, Eastman School of Music, Information-General, Journeys, Lectures, Meetings, Ministry, Music, Organizations, Organs, Publications , Southern Methodist University, Union Theological Seminary, Valparaiso University, and Subject Files. Some of these categories also have sub-categories.

The Bibliography category has a variety of bibliographies; however, some specific ones are filed with material belonging to a distinct location like Valparaiso , Eastman School of Music, etc..

All the Correspondence has been extracted from the files except if a letter had direct impact on a specific attachment which will remain in the file, i.e. an attached music manuscript. In this case, the piece of correspondence was stapled together with the attachment. The letters were filed in chronological order, rusty staples were removed and preservation copies were made of all delicate material.

All material knowingly produced and coming from the Eastman School of Music is filed under that subject in alphabetical order. This includes musical manuscripts and/or personal papers of acquaintances of his time in Rochester , NY .

Information - General includes a variety of material relative to a specific person who could not be "traced" to one of the locations Dr. Bichsel either lived or taught at. They include musical manuscripts, photos, brochures, and other printed material.

Journeys includes printed materials collected by Dr. Bichsel while on trips abroad.

Lecture is divided into three sub groups: The first one is "Lecture: Bichsel" and contains manuscripts and/or research papers produced and taught by Dr. Bichsel. Some of these lectures have bibliographies attached. The second category is "Lecture by" following by the name and title of the person who presented this lecture. In the third category, one can find lectures filed in alphabetical order by title; the author of these writings could not be determined.

Ministry includes material directly connected to the office of the holy ministry since Dr. Bichsel was an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Music is obviously the largest group of this collection and has the following sub-categories: Musical Manuscripts and Printed Music Collections . These groups are filed in alphabetical order by composer and/or title of the publications. Many musical manuscripts are filed in one of the two oversized boxes. They are identified on the folder list with a corresponding number one can find in each oversized box.

Organizations records the various associations to which Dr. Bichsel belonged.

In Publications there are two boxes of un-catalogued books. Some of them Dr. Bichsel used in his lectures, or others were given to him. Even though these books are not catalogued, they are still part of his collected materials and therefore made available to the researcher. All other printed publications which were found throughout the Bichsel Collection are combined into this category.

Subject Files contains material not corresponding with any of the above groups and were therefore alphabetically organized under this heading.

Note: If you seek a specific person and don't know how Dr. Bichsel was associated with him or her look in the following files: Eastman School of Music, Information - General, Lectures, Music, Valparaiso and/or Subject Files because either of these categories could include the information a researcher is looking for.

This collection has been arranged by Brigitte H. Conkling, September 2007.