February 21, 1891, his father was Sandusky and his mother was Anna; Karl Lawrence King was their only child.
March 31, 1971 at a hospital in Fort Dodge, Iowa
Also Known As:
Karl Lawrence King was an American bandmaster, conductor, composer of marches, baritone player in circus bands earlier in his career and shares the title "March King" with John Philip Sousa.
Type of Compositions:
King was a prolific composer; he wrote over 200 compositions, the most famous of which is "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite." He also wrote other types of compositions such as overtures, serenades, circus galops, waltzes and music for school bands.
His father played the tuba. King was predominantly self-taught; at age 12 he sold newspapers so he could buy a cornet and pay for music lessons. The few formal lessons he took was under William Bradford. Later, he would switch to the baritone and at age 18, was already playing with the Thayer Military Band and Neddermeyer Band. Afterward, he played with circus bands like the Robinson Famous Circus when he was 19 and then the Barnum and Bailey Circus when he was 22.
His most famous work is "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite;" other compositions include "The New Madison Square Garden," "Valley Forge," "The Big Cage," "The Peacemaker," "Trombone King" and "Emblem of Freedom."
At 23, he became the director of the Sells-Floto/Buffalo Bill Circus band, then at age 26, became conductor of the Barnum and Bailey Circus band. He became the director of the Fort Dodge Municipal Band when he was 29, maintaining his post there until the time of his death. The band is now known as the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge.
Other Interesting Facts:
King was married to Ruth Lovett, their only child is named Karl L. King, Jr.. King Jr. helped his father run their music publishing business called K.L. King Music House. Karl Lawrence King has an honorary music degree from Phillips University in Oklahoma and was the president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association as well as the American Bandmasters Association. He was instrumental in the creation of the Iowa Band Law and received numerous accolades including being elected into the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts.