On March 10, 1948, world-renowned composer and pianist Ernst von Dohnányi (1877−1960) embarked for the United States, leaving Europe for good. Only a few years earlier, the seventy-year-old Hungarian had been a triumphant, internationally admired musician and leading figure in Hungarian musical life. Fleeing a political smear campaign that sought to implicate him in intellectual collaboration with fascism, he reached American shores without a job or a home. A Wayfaring Stranger presents the final period in Dohnányi’s exceptional career and uses a range of previously unavailable material to reexamine commonly held beliefs about the musician and his unique oeuvre. Offering insights into his life as a teacher, pianist, and composer, the book also considers the difficulties of émigré life, the political charges made against him, and the compositional and aesthetic dilemmas faced by a conservative artist. To this rich biographical account, Veronika Kusz adds an in-depth examination of Dohnányi’s late works—in most cases the first analyses to appear in musicological literature. This corrective history provides never-before-seen photographs of the musician’s life in the United States and skillfully illustrates Dohnányi’s impact on European and American music and the culture of the time.
About the Author
Veronika Kusz is Senior Research Fellow and Curator of the Dohnányi Collection at the Institute for Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.