Music Composers: John Phillip Sousa


Band leader & composer


     John Phillip Sousa was born at Washington D.C., November 6, 1856. His father was of Portuguese origin. Sousa's earliest lessons in music were received from J. Esputa, and later he studied composition and harmony with G.F. Benkert. At the age of seventeen he was a conductor of an orchestra in a traveling theatrical company. In 1876 he joined the orchestra of Offenbach, which was then touring the country. In 1878 Sousa became director of the famous Philadelphia church choir Pinafore company. Two years later he was appointed conductor of the band of the United States Marines. His remarkable powers as a conductor soon asserted themselves, and his band became famous. It was while associated with the Marine Band that Sousa first became noted as a writer of marches. His High-school Cadets and Washington Post, to name two of his most famous, are now known the world over. In 1892 the famous Sousa Band was formed, and has traveled more widely than any musical organization in existence. Sousa has composed many comic operas and descriptive pieces, besides marches. His El Capitan was an especial favorite and contains many beautiful numbers. His is also known as a writer of books of a kind they public want. His genial personality has captivated all nations, and there can be little doubt that his forthcoming tour round the world with his wonderful band will be one long triumph.

Thanks to: The Etude Magazine October 1910


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