• Composer of the Week:  John Philip Sousa 
    Sousa John Philip Sousa was an American composer who is famous for his patriotic march music.   Born in Washington, D.C. in 1854, Sousa was soon found to have a rare gift called “perfect pitch” (or “absolute” pitch).  This means that Sousa could identify any pitch as a specific note just by hearing it alone.  He studied flute, cornet (trumpet), violin, trombone and other instruments. 

    At age 13, Sousa’s father enlisted him in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice musician.  Afterwards, he ended up leading the President’s Own Marine Corps Band, which is considered the best concert band/parade band in the country--if not the world--even today.  Sousa married in 1879 and had three children. 

    John Philip Sousa’s most famous marches are The Stars and Stripes Forever (the national march of the U.S.), The Thunderer, Semper Fidelis (official USMC march), The Liberty Bell, The Washington Post, El Capitan and Manhattan Beach March.   Sousa opposed the new industry of recording music on wax cylinders (and then records) in the early 1900’s.  He said recorded music was “canned music” and would “[ruin the development] of music in this country.”   The Sousaphone (a front facing tuba) was designed for him and is still in use today.  Sousa died in 1932 and is nicknamed “The March King.”   


     Map of Washington, D.C.


    The Music of John Philip Sousa