19th August 1813
21st December 1864
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
William Henry Fry was a pioneering American composer, music critic, and journalist.
Fry was the first person born in the United States to write for a large symphony orchestra, and the first to compose a publicly performed opera. He was also the first music critic for a major American newspaper, and he was the first person to insist that his fellow countrymen support American-made music.
Fry's operatic compositions include Aurelia the Vestal, Leonora (based on the 1838 play The Lady of Lyons), and Notre-Dame of Paris (based on the 1831 novel by Victor Hugo). Leonora was a very successful production at its premiere in 1845 and second run the following year. Leonora is also significant as it was the first grand opera written by an American composer.