Bierley, Paul E. (1926-2016) | University of Illinois Archives
Paul E. Bierley (1926-2016), tubist, engineer and band researcher, is recognized today as the foremost historian of the music and life of John Philip Sousa. Spending over 40 years collecting material about Sousa's life, band, and music, Mr. Bierley conducted meticulous and wide-ranging research that led to the publication of two definitive works on Sousa: John Philip Sousa: A Catalogue of His Works, which provides a wealth of details about Sousa's musical and literary works, and his biography, John Philip Sousa: American Phenomenon. Other Sousa-related works by Mr. Bierley include Hallelujah Trombone (a biography of Henry Fillmore), The Music of Henry Fillmore and Henry Huff, Nineteenth Century American Musical Theater, Later Operetta, Part 1 (El Capitan), and the revised edition of Sousa's Marching Along. Bierley served as editor for the two volume set of William Rehrig's 1991 The Heritage Encyclopedia Band Music (Volume 3, Supplement, 1996), has published many Sousa-related journal articles about the Sousa Band, and has provided liner notes for numerous LPs and CDs.
Bierley was educated as an aeronautical engineer at Ohio State University. During his 35-year career designing airplanes and missiles, he pursued an active career as a musician as well. As a child he began playing the music of Sousa as a tubist in his high school band, and later played the tuba in such ensembles as the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Concert Band. To honor his 40 years of research and scholarly publications on Sousa and American Band History, Ohio Sate University awarded Bierley an honorary doctorate in 2001. He was also awarded the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts Award from the National Band Association in the same year.