Dvorak was lured to New York in 1892 with the promise of a fee twenty times his salary in Prague. Upon arrival, he proclaimed:
I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them.