John Philip Sousa

Born: November 6, 1854: Washington, DC

Death: March 6, 1932: Reading, Pennsylvania

Induction: February 2, 1980

Director of the United States Marine Band and later of Sousa’s Band from 1892-1932. Famous for writing many great marches and other compositions played worldwide.  Many historians and musicians consider Sousa to be the greatest bandmaster that ever lived.  The Sousa Band took yearly tours of the United States and five world tours.  His march Star and Stripes Forever became the national march of the United States in 1987. First Honorary President of the American Band Masters Association.

1st Composition: Moonlight on the Potomac Waltzes

Conducted Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore on Broadway

Assumed leadership of the United States Marine Band in 1880

Conducted The President’s Own under Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Robert Cleveland, Chester A. Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison

Resigned from United States Marine Band to form the civilian Sousa’s Band

September 26, 1892—First Sousa Band Concert

1st successful operetta: El Capitan

Inspiration for Stars and Stripes Forever from David Blakely in 1896

Father: Antonio Sousa

Mother: Maria Elizabeth Trinkhaus

Wife: Jane van Middlesworth