C) Y. Hatano

About fugue.us

Hungarian pianist/composer Ervin Nyiregyházi (1903-1987) is probably best remembered for his magnificent performance in the LP "Nyiregyházi plays Liszt"(Desmar, 1977). He started his musical life as a prominent prodigy and developed his successful concert career in Europe. At 15, he performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arthur Nikisch. He eventually moved to the US and made his US debut concert at Carnegie Hall when he was 17 years old. "A new Liszt", that's what critics called him then. His glorious victory lasted until the mid 20's––– and then crisis suddenly came. It is said that he slept in subway stations and parks, and appeared in low budget films for a small fee. His name was soon forgotten, while he spent his time on drinking alcohol, marrying 10 times, and composing music in the slums.

In 1972, after a half-century of obscurity, the 70-year-old- Nyiregyházi decided to start performing again to pay for his wife's illness. Eventually his unique interpretation of Liszt gained enormous attention from record companies, critics, and the international news media. He played in Japan in 1980 and 1982. He died of cancer in 1987. Nyiregyházi left a dozen piano roll, a few studio, and live recordings, and more than 2000 compositions. Many of them remain unpublished.

In January of 2004 I joined Kevin Bazzana's long-term project that later on led to the aword-wining book entitled Lost Genius: The Story of a Forgotten Music Maverick, a biography for
Nyiregyházi. My initial involvement was to provide him old materials including concert adverts and programs I had. Eventually I committed more to the project, and started assembling audio tapes, articles, adverts, concert programs, and photos from multiple Japanese sources, and also traveled to Japan a few times to interview people who supported Nyiregyházi.

Fugue.us assembles and shows these materials related to
Nyiregyházi since 2007. The site has been introduced by several media including the Wall Street Journal, and offers the largest on-line archive for Nyiregyházi. Some of prescious materials will also be published through a London-based music company Sonetto Classics.

Tomoyuki Sawado
CEO, Sonetto Classics