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Sax and Sousa Birthdays

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
/
SC Public Radio

Today is November 6th, and it’s the birthday of two important figures in the history of music, one an American composer and bandleader, and the other a Belgian instrument maker.

The American was none other than John Philip Sousa, conductor of the United States Marine Band and the Sousa Band, and composer of America’s greatest patriotic marches, including our official National March, The Stars and Stripes Forever. Sousa was born in Washington, DC, in 1854, and I’ll bet you didn’t know that he began his musical life as a violinist. You also may not know—I didn’t—that in addition to marches he wrote a number of operettas, and that somehow he found time to become one of this country’s greatest trap shooters. Today’s Belgian birthday boy is Adolphe Sax. The son of an instrument maker, Sax himself was still just in his twenties when he invented the instrument that bears his name, the saxophone.
A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.