New World Symphony

Tim Photoguy/Unsplash

Antonin Dvorak wrote his Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," soon after arriving in America in 1893.  A yearning melody from the second movement took on a new life as a popular American song that continues to be reinvented. 

Mat Hennek


This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's great about a culture. That's exactly what Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was when he came to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, an immigrant thrown into a new world and new sounds.

A New World Was Needed to Create This Symphony

Apr 27, 2015

A native of Bohemia, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was a minority in the Austrian Empire and in the classical music world. But he had risen to the top of it all when a millionaire patroness hired him to direct the brand-new National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. It would train all students without regard to race or ability to pay. There, in 1893, Dvořák’s eyes were opened to the possibilities of an "American" music.