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Pathfinder of Panama, The

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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (ed. Byrne)

General Info

Year: 1915 / 1993
Duration: c. 3:25
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Wingert-Jones Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $50.00   |   Score Only - $6.00


Full Score
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel (bells)
  • Cymbals (crash)
  • 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. The contemporary performance edition of this Sousa march was completed by retired U.S. Marine Band captain Frank Byrne.

- 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

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

State Ratings



To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Royal Oak (Mich.) Concert Band (Kevin R. Czarnik, conductor) - 8 March 2020
  • South Forsyth Middle School (Cumming, Ga.) Symphonic Band (Andrew Poor, conductor) – 20 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southern Division Conference, Natchitoches, La.)
  • New Hammer Concert Band (Stockton, Calif.) (Eric Hammer, conductor) - 30 September 2018
  • Virginia (Alexandria) Grand Military Band (Loras John Schissel, conductor) – 16 September 2017
  • San Jose (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 7 May 2017
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Concert Band (M. Gregory Martin, conductor) – 26 April 2017
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) University Band (Ryan Ramsey, conductor) – 2 March 2017
  • Los Alamos (N.M.) Community Winds (Ted Vives, conductor) – 25 February 2017
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 8 January 2017
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner conductor) – 1 March 2016
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Concert Winds (Christin Reardon MacLellan, conductor) – 19 November 2015
  • Macungie Band (Bethlehem, Penn.) (Michael Moran, conductor) - 5 June 2015
  • Lone Star Symphonic Band (Katy, Tex.) (Bob Bryant, conductor) - 3 May 2015
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (Jennifer Martin, conductor) - 4 May 2014
  • Los Angeles Pierce Symphonic Winds (Stephen P. Piazza, conductor) - 11 May 2013
  • California State Northridge Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) - 16 March 2012 (CBDNA Conference, Reno, Nev.)
  • Senior High Honor Band (Alfred Watkins, conductor) - 2009 (NCDA)

Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Sousa, J.; Bryne, F. (1993) The Pathfinder of Panama : For Concert Band [score]. Wingert-Jones Music : Kansas City, Mo.