Sousa, John Philip


Sousa, John Philip
born Nov. 6, 1854, Washington, D.C., U.S.
died March 6, 1932, Reading, Pa.

U.S. bandmaster and composer known as "The March King.

" As a youth he learned to play the violin and various band instruments. In 1868 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as an apprentice in the Marine Band, and from 1880 to 1892 he directed the group, building it into a virtuoso ensemble. In 1892 he formed his own band, with which he toured internationally to great acclaim. He composed 136 military marches, including "Semper Fidelis" (the official march of the Marines), "The Washington Post," "The Liberty Bell," and "The Stars and Stripes Forever." He also wrote successful operettas, including El Capitan (1896), and dozens of other works. In the 1890s he developed a type of bass tuba now known as the sousaphone.

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▪ American composer
byname  The March King  
born Nov. 6, 1854, Washington, D.C., U.S.
died March 6, 1932, Reading, Pa.
 American bandmaster and composer of military marches (march).

      The son of an immigrant Portuguese father and a German mother, Sousa grew up in Washington, D.C., where from the age of six he learned to play the violin and later various band instruments and studied harmony and musical theory first with John Esputa and then with George Felix Benkert. In 1867 he began to follow the career of his father as a trombonist, but later he took engagements as an orchestral violinist and served as a conductor. He also began composing.

      In 1868 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as an apprentice in the Marine Band. He began building his formidable reputation as a bandmaster of great precision through his leadership (1880–92) of this group, which he raised to the highest standard of performance. In 1892 he formed his own band, a carefully selected group capable of equal virtuosity in both military and symphonic music; with it he toured the United States and Europe (1900–05) and finally made a world tour (1910–11).

      Sousa composed 136 military marches, remarkable for their rhythmic and instrumental effects. They include the famous “Semper Fidelis” (1888), which became the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps, “The Washington Post” (1889), “The Liberty Bell” (1893), and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (1897).

      Between 1879 and 1915 he wrote 11 operettas, of which El Capitan (1896), The Bride Elect (1897), and The Free Lance (1906) were particularly successful. He wrote at least 70 songs, 11 waltzes, 12 other dance pieces, 11 suites, 14 humoresques, and 27 fantasies. In the 1890s he also redeveloped a type of bass tuba called the helicon (q.v.), made to his specifications and eventually called the sousaphone.

      During World War I he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and took charge of the band-training centre at Great Lakes Naval Base, in Illinois. For the U.S. Department of the Navy he compiled National, Patriotic and Typical Airs of All Lands (1890). He wrote three novels, an instruction book for trumpet and drum, and an autobiography, Marching Along (1928).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sousa,John Philip — Sou·sa (so͞oʹzə, sə), John Philip. Known as “the March King.” 1854 1932. American bandmaster and composer who wrote comic operas and marches such as Stars and Stripes Forever (1897). * * * …   Universalium

  • Sousa, John Philip — ► (1854 1932) Compositor estadounidense. Autor de populares marchas: Barras y estrellas para siempre. * * * (6 nov. 1854, Washington, D.C., EE.UU.–6 mar. 1932, Reading, Pa.). Director de bandas y compositor estadounidense conocido como el rey de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Philip Sousa — Sousa in 1900; photo by Elmer Chickering Nickname The March King …   Wikipedia

  • John Philip Sousa — John Philip Sousa, 1900 John Philip (de) Sousa (* 6. November 1854 in Washington D.C.; † 6. März 1932 in Reading, Pennsylvania) war ein US amerikanischer Dirigent von Militärkapellen und Kompo …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Philip Sousa — en una fotografía de 1900. John Philip Sousa (6 de noviembre de 1854 6 de marzo de 1932), conocido popularmente como el Rey de las marchas fue un compositor y director musical norteamericano del período romántico tardío, particularmente conocido… …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Philip Sousa — (6 novembre 1854 – 6 mars 1932) était un compositeur américain. Il était également chef d orchestre, composa de nombreuses et célèbres marches milit …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Philip Sousa — noun a United States bandmaster and composer of military marches (1854 1932) • Syn: ↑Sousa, ↑March King • Instance Hypernyms: ↑bandmaster, ↑composer * * * John Philip Sousa [John Philip Sous …   Useful english dictionary

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  • John Philip Sousa Foundation — The John Philip Sousa Foundation is a non profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of band music internationally. The foundation administers a number of projects and awards supporting high quality band performance, conducting, and composition …   Wikipedia

  • John Philip Sousa House — Infobox nrhp | name =John Philip Sousa House nrhp type = nhl locmapin = New York caption = Front cottage of Wild Bank, 2008 location= 14 Hicks Lane, Sands Point, NY lat degrees = 40 | lat minutes = 50 | lat seconds = 35.32 | lat direction = N… …   Wikipedia


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