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Edward Kilenyi (1910 - 2000)


Edward Kilenyi’s father, also named Edward (1884–1968), was a composer and violinist who taught George Gershwin and worked for the film industry in the early days of sound film. At the age of three young Edward could pick out the tunes of his father’s new quintet on the piano. Growing up in a musical household, Kilenyi did not have to endure the life of a performing prodigy, but at the age of eleven, he played for Ernő Dohnányi who was touring America. The composer suggested that the boy study under him at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. This was the beginning of a lifelong association between Kilenyi and Dohnányi. Kilenyi premièred many of the composer’s works and they often performed on two pianos together. In 1928 Dohnányi took his young protégé on a tour playing the works of Schubert in celebration of the composer’s centennial.

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