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Making the March KingJohn Philip Sousa's Washington Years, 1854-1893$
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Patrick Warfield

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037795

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037795.001.0001

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A Nineteenth-Century Musical Career

A Nineteenth-Century Musical Career

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter Three A Nineteenth-Century Musical Career
Source:
Making the March King
Author(s):

Patrick Warfield

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037795.003.0003

This chapter examines two Washington-based figures who provided John Philip Sousa with examples of just how expansive a nineteenth-century musical career could become. Indeed, the most important lessons of Sousa's youth did not come from formal apprenticeships or professional employment; they were found in the careers of musicians who lived in the Navy Yard. The first model was George Felix Benkert, who provided Sousa with a technical education in composition. However, the most remarkable of these models was, no doubt, John Esputa—a working-class musician who found employment where he could, wrote what must have seemed financially prudent at the time, and had a wide range of musical talents. Esputa's musical career seems quite remarkable in its specifics, but its outlines were perfectly typical of American musical life in the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   nineteenth-century musical career, George Felix Benkert, composition, John Esputa, working-class musician, American musical life

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