Pathfinder of Panama, The (1915)

From Wind Repertory Project
John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

General Info

Year: 1915
Duration: c. 3:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Frank Church
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Condensed Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
E-flat Cornet
B-flat Cornet Solo-I-II-III
Horn in E-flat I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
B-flat Tenor Horn I-II
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The completion of the Panama Canal in 1915 was celebrated by the Panama-Pacific Exposition World’s Fair held in San Francisco. (This expo also served as the host city’s “coming-out party” following the frenetic re-construction which commenced soon after the devastating 1906 earthquake.) As he was so many times before, perennial American composer John Philip Sousa was approached to compose an original march in honor of the world’s fair. The resulting march, The Pathfinder of Panama, is the March King’s most charming composition cast in march form. Here is another classic example of Sousa’s knack for casting personality upon what otherwise is dismissed as a perfunctory genre of music; The Pathfinder of Panama is no ordinary march — it possesses the craft and character of a classical symphony economized into a brief three-minute foray of turn-of-the-century nostalgia.

- Program Note by Lawrence Stoffel

Shortly after the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, the Sousa Band was invited to perform at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, held in San Francisco. At the request of Walter Anthony, a reporter for the San Francisco Call, Sousa composed The Pathfinder of Panama march to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal and dedicated it to the exposition as well. The “Pathfinder” in the title of the march refers not to an individual, but to the Panama Canal itself, an engineering marvel that shortened the ocean voyage between San Francisco and New York by approximately 8,000 miles and continues to have an incalculable impact on the shipping of goods and passengers worldwide.

Program Note from the United States Marine Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bierley, P. (1973). John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works. University of Illinois Press; Urbana, pp. 64.
  • Sousa, J. (1915). The Pathfinder of Panama [score]. John Church: [Cincinnati, O.].