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James H. Fry

Associate Professor, Composition
Music Theory & Composition Division
B.M., M.M., Southern Methodist University; Ph.D., University of Rochester

Educator, administrator, composer, performer—James Fry's diverse career spans more than four decades in service to the musical arts.  Fry holds B.M. ('71) and M.M. ('74) degrees from Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. ('77) from the Eastman School of Music where he was twice the recipient of the prestigious Howard Hanson Prize in music composition.  Among the many teachers influencing his development were composers Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner and Warren Benson; pianist Alfred Mouledous; harpsichordist Larry Palmer; cellist and Los Angeles recording artist Harold Schneier, and Dallas Symphony principal cellist Robert Marsh.  As a teen, he received music theory and piano instruction from his mentor, Allen Eugene Ellsworth, then Chair of the Music Theory Department at SMU.
From 1976 to 1984, Fry taught music theory, composition and piano at William Carey College, serving as Dean of the School of Music during his last three years.  As Dean, he led student recruitment efforts that increased and stabilized enrollment.  Fry joined the music faculty at the University of North Dakota in 1984 and served as Department Chair from 1984 to 1990 and again during the 1998/99 academic year.  As Chair, he initiated North Dakota's first music therapy program, whose graduates now provide services to hundreds of clients.  Currently, Fry holds appointments in the School of Music and Honors College at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Prior to that, he served as Associate Director of the School of Music from 1999 to 2005, a time of phenomenal growth in the School's prominence.
A life-long educator, Fry has taught hundreds of students of all ages and abilities:  from beginning pianists to doctoral composers.  A broad range of subjects have attracted his interest over the years including freshman and sophomore music theory, sight singing and ear training, music fundamentals, orchestration, instrumental and choral arranging, form and analysis, tonal counterpoint, 20th-century techniques, analytical techniques, music theory review, music technology, studio piano, studio composition, and 20th-century music history.  During the 1996/97 academic year, Fry lectured on American music as a J. William Fulbright scholar at the Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.  At the University of Maryland, he developed new and innovative courses on style analysis, the sonata principle, musical post-modernism, and the practice of creativity.  
As a composer, Fry's oeuvre comprises over 100 compositions for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, wind ensemble, voice, choir, and electronic media, many of which have been performed internationally and recorded.  The recipient of a number of national prizes and awards, he has received commissions from the 21st-Century Consort, University of Connecticut Wind Ensemble, the University of Illinois Chamber Players, the North Dakota Music Teachers Association, the Grand Forks Federation of Music Clubs, and the North Dakota Centennial Commission for a full-length orchestral work commemorating the State Centennial.  In 1994 he was named the MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association.  Fry's works are widely distributed through the International Music Score Library Project receiving thousands of downloads worldwide.
While on the faculty at the University of North Dakota, Fry presented solo piano recitals in the Soviet Union and U.S. Upper Midwest, and appeared as soloist with the Grand Forks Symphony in a performance of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto.  As a cellist, he has performed with the Gulf Coast Symphony, Meridian Symphony and Grand Forks Symphony.  Early in his career, Fry enjoyed making music on a medley of instruments—piano and cello (chamber music), organ (church music), accordion, recorders, viola da gamba (early music), harpsichord, euphonium, tuba, percussion, and bass guitar (rock music).
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