Fry, William Henry
- David E. Campbell
- , revised by Laura Moore Pruett
(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 10, 1813; d Santa Cruz, Virgin Islands, Dec 21, 1864). American composer and music critic. One of five sons of the wealthy and erudite publisher of Philadelphia’s National Gazette, he demonstrated musical talent at an early age with an overture composed at the age of 18, as a student at Mount St. Mary’s School in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Fry studied theory and composition with Leopold Meignen and wrote three more overtures by age 20, one of which was performed in 1833 by the Philadelphia Philharmonic Society. He also began work in the operatic genre; his earliest unfinished efforts, The Bridal of Dunure (c1833) and Cristiani e pagani (c1838), are now lost. His first completed opera was the three-act Aurelia the Vestal (1841), to a libretto by his brother Joseph. While this work is not thought to have been performed, Fry’s second completed opera ...