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Sousa Band

“The Stars and Stripes Forever”: Three Historic Recordings

John Philip Sousa’s most famous march was written on Christmas Day, 1896 during a transatlantic ocean liner voyage. Returning home from a European holiday, the composer had just learned of the death of his band’s manager, David Blakely. Sousa likely waited until he reached land to commit the actual notes to paper. But, according to his […]

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Percy Grainger: Irish Tune from County Derry

I have vague, early childhood memories of hearing my dad play trombone in Dr. Harry Begian’s band at the University of Illinois. Begian, who passed away in 2010, was the University’s Director of Bands between 1970 and 1984. He favored the full, majestic “symphonic band” sound over the leaner sound of a wind ensemble. He recounted […]

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Karel Husa

Remembering Composer Karel Husa

Karel Husa, the influential Czech-born composer and conductor, passed away last Wednesday. He was 95. Husa emigrated to the United States in 1954, became an American citizen a few years later, and served on the faculty of Cornell University for 38 years. His composition students included such illustrious names as Steven Stucky and Christopher Rouse. Music […]

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Happy Independence Day

John Philip Sousa’s marches embody qualities which are uniquely American. Listen to a British patriotic march like Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 and you’ll hear the slow, stately, majestic character of England. By contrast, Sousa’s marches are faster and more brash, reflecting the optimistic innocence of a young country just beginning to flex its […]

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The Listeners' Club

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