Sousa, John Philip
John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854 – March 6, 1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era of the Victorian era and Edwardian era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as “The March King” or the “American March King” due to his British counterpart Kenneth J. Alford also being known as “The March King”. His most famous marches are “The Washington Post”, “Semper Fidelis” (Official March of the United States Marine Corps), and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (National March of the United States of America).
John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., on November 6, 1854, to John Antonio Sousa and Maria Elisabeth Trinkhaus. He was of Portuguese and Bavarian descent. Sousa started his music education by playing the violin as a pupil of John Esputa and George Felix Benkert (born 1831) for harmony and musical composition at the age of six. He was found to have absolute pitch. When Sousa reached the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted his son in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice to keep him from joining a circus band. Sousa served his apprenticeship for seven years until 1875 and apparently learned to play all the wind instruments while honing his mettle with the violin.