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Commemorating John Philip Sousa's 150th

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Sheet music for 'The Washington Post March,' written by Sousa in 1889.closemore
Sheet music for 'The Washington Post March,' written by Sousa in 1889.

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Performance Today host Fred Child about the life and music of John Philip Sousa, "the March King." Sousa was born in Washington, D.C., 150 years ago.

Sousa is perhaps best known for the march "Stars and Stripes Forever," but he also wrote waltzes and other classical pieces in addition to marches.

Another of Sousa's more famous tunes is "The Washington Post March" -- named after the oldest newspaper serving the nation's capital. What isn't widely known is that the newspaper commissioned Sousa to write the piece in 1889 to promote an essay contest it was sponsoring.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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