John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)

John Philip Sousa was the youngest conductor of the U.S. Marine Band and the first conductor who was American born (most people felt that the best musicians were European born). Sousa reorganized the Marine Band and created one of the greatest musical organizations in the United States. In 1892 he formed his own independent band, patterned after Patrick Gilmore's band. The Sousa Band created the "road trip" and traveled by train all over the United States. The band also toured Europe and other continents. While on tour the band would often perform concerts in two different cities in one day. If they were staying in one city, they might perform three concerts in one day! (And remember, these were 2-3 hour concerts!)

Sousa didn't write just marches; he also wrote 3 novels, his autobiograhpy, 15 operettas, 11 suites, 70 songs, 100 plus other instrumental pieces, and he created 200 arrangements and transcriptions of other music.

There are MANY great Sousa sites; check out some of these:

The United States Marine Band page on Sousa

The Dallas Wind Symphony has an excellent site on Sousa

Keith Brion has created the New Sousa Band - a group that recreates the sounds and sights of the original Sousa Band. They dress in similar uniforms, play music from the Sousa Band play lists and Keith Brion even looks a lot like John Philip Sousa!

return to tidbit page