Pianist, Composer, Conductor, Teacher. Born in Pozsony, Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia), he showed early talent for music. In 1894 he enrolled in the Budapest Academy of Music (Franz Liszt Academy), where he studied piano and composition, and was a classmate of Béla Bartók. His compositions garnered the attention of Joseph Joachim and Johannes Brahms, who championed his C-minor Piano Quintet. He was recognized as one of the greatest pianists of his day, performing solo recitals and appearing with major orchestras in the United States and Europe. As a conductor, he served as music director of the Budapest Philharmonic and championed contemporary Hungarian music throughout his life, especially the works of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. His most famous piece is "Variations on a Nursery Tune" for piano and orchestra and his works include two symphonies, three string quartets, two piano concertos, and three operas. His son, Hans von Dohnányi, was a leading figure in the anti-Nazi resistance in Germany. Along with his brother-in-law, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hans was executed by the Nazis in 1945 following a failed assassination plot against Hitler. Ernõ Dohnányi's students include Ervin Nyíregyházi, Géza Anda, Annie Fischer, Sir Georg Solti, and his grandson, conductor Christoph von Dohnányi. He moved to Vienna in 1944 before finally settling in the United States in 1949, where he held a teaching position at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He died of pneumonia in New York City on February 9, 1960 following a recording session.
Bio by: Barry Zimmerman