From Budapest to Florida—and Back: The Journey Taken by Ernst von Dohnányi’s American Legacy


Decades had passed without considerable musicological writings on Ernst von Dohnányi (1877–1960) when James A. Grymes published an excellent, revealing article in the Music Library Association’s journal Notes in 1998. He discussed the recently explored American legacy of this significant Hungarian pianist and composer, then held by the Warren D. Allen Music Library of the Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee. By a curious turn of events, there developed at the same time a similar interest in Dohnányi’s home country, where he had long been neglected. This study—a “Part II” to Grymes’s article—sets out to explore how this international body of Dohnányi scholarship arose in the late 1990s, what political and aesthetic factors led to his reevaluation (one might say renaissance), and how the American Dohnányi legacy has continued to grow since. Also explained is how the collection was transferred to Hungary in 2015, as a symbolic gesture by Dohnányi’s American grandson, Seàn E. McGlynn, owner of the legacy. Further aims are to offer a sample of the material for prospective scholars and performers, and to call attention to an unusual oeuvre that seems to be gaining new relevance in the twenty-first century.