The New World Symphony is the usual name for the Symphony No. 9 in E Minor of Antonín Dvorák, opus 95, whose subtitle is actually Aus der neuen Welt or From the New World. At the time Dvorák had moved to the United States to be director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, and the New World Symphony was his reaction to the Americas. It is often said to contain actual native tunes - either Negro spirituals or Native American melodies - but the influence if any of these is pretty remote.
The National Conservatory had been founded and endowed in 1885 by Mrs Jeanette Thurber, a rich widow, who had her eyes on a director of international stature. Her first offer to Dvorák was in 1891, but he refused. She made a better offer in 1892 and he set out with his family from Prague. He quickly began work on his new symphony.
He was certainly inspired by America, and may have had some contact with Negro folk-tunes, but it is not a literal reworking of any native material. It contains if anything the same kind of Bohemian melodies that had exercised his interest back in Europe. But it is a very expansive work: it feels wide-open, American; it feels like a forerunner of Aaron Copland. He said he was meditating on the poem Hiawatha.
It was first conducted on 1 December 1893, in Carnegie Hall, by Anton Seidl (1850-1898), a Hungarian who had been working in New York since 1885.
Dvorák remained in New York until 1895. There was a Czech community at a place called Spillville where he enjoyed visiting.