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About William Henry Fry

As an American, Fry was perhaps the first to have a grand opera performed. This was a presentation of Leonora. Two other operas which he composed were Notre Dame of Paris and Aurelia the Vestal. He also composed orchestral works with lucid titles and occasional lengthy synopses. Fry was one of the first to attempt extended structures of compositions emphasizing American or New World sources. As a critic for the New York Tribune he constantly wrote on themes dealing with a renunciation of European elements in music and a focus upon American materials. His own music was dominated by French and Italian operas and German orchestration but he was influential in directing and inspiring attention towards strictly American themes and reservoirs. ~ Keith Johnson

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