The Only Fan Letter I Have Ever Written

Unfortunately, I do not have the letter I sent to Roy Harris, composer, Symphony #3, which inspired me to write. He was teaching at Indiana University (one of my alma maters) at the time I wrote. But I do have his response to me in Valparaiso, IN (where I taught secondary school for a couple of years), post-dated Bloomington, IN, October 18, 1957. I must have been very effusive. I think classical composers do not get many fan letters. Here is his reply:


My dear John Deethardt:

In response to your “fan letter” let me thank you for your thoughtfulness in writing as warmly as you did.

As per your request I am sending you herewith the Fugue subject of the 3rd Symphony.

I am not sure that it is in the right key, having not seen a score or heard the work for some time. —  I am now on my 8th. The 7th is recorded  by the Philadelphia  Ormandy conducting  —  Columbia.

Hoping this finds finds you in good estate.

I am Sincerely Yours.

Roy Harris


Enclosed on music staff paper was the Fugue theme, followed by this note:


To John Deethardt with best wishes—- Roy Harris 10/17/57


At this writing, I am listening to the Harris 3rd (followed by the Copeland 3rd). There is no earthly reason why I should put this on my blog. It is framed and hanging on my wall. I just wanted to share it with someone other than me.

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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