“When you think of ‘music history,’ you probably think of something dry, cold, and unemotional. Music historian James A. Grymes will change your mind.”
– Westchester Magazine
Dr. James A. Grymes is an internationally respected musicologist, a critically acclaimed author, and a dynamic speaker who has addressed audiences at significant public venues such as the United Nations Headquarters, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, and the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Grymes has been featured in interviews by the New York Times, ABC News, and CNN, and has written essays for the Huffington Post and the Israeli music magazine Opus.
He is the author of Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour (Harper Perennial, 2014). A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life. The book, which composer John Williams described as “one of the most moving chronicles in the history of Western music,” presents a new way of understanding the Holocaust. Violins of Hope won a National Jewish Book Award.
Dr. Grymes is Professor of Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is represented by John Rudolph of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Although Ernst von Dohnányi was considered by many of his contemporaries to be the greatest musician of his generation, his considerable musical legacy was largely ignored by the musical community in the latter half of the 20th century. This was primarily the result of a regrettable trend in the arts that valued avant-garde compositional styles at the expense of the works of composers who remained faithful to the musical language of 19th-century Romanticism. Recent years, however, have brought revised assessments of Dohnányi that disprove many of the misgivings and criticisms expressed by earlier scholars. Edited by leading contemporary scholar James A. Grymes, this work represents an essential next step in restoring Dohnányi to his rightful place in the annals of great musicians.
Many of the essays collected here have been carefully selected from the finest papers presented at the 2002 International Ernst von Dohnányi Festival at The Florida State University and are in this volume available publicly for the first time, while others are reprints of writings that have made significant advances in the field. Of particular importance is Viktor Papp’s essential 1927 biography of Dohnányi, available here in English for the first time.
“…a rare kind of biography and autobiography: a clear and elegant exposition of fact, as well as a humane portrait of a great piano virtuoso, composer, teacher, and democratic soul, as told to and seen through the eyes of one close to him.” —Mark Mitchell
Ernst von Dohnányi was one of the most highly respected musicians of his time. He is remembered for his technique and interpretive skills as a pianist and conductor, as well as for the masterpieces he composed for piano, chamber ensembles, and orchestra. As a teacher and administrator, Dohnányi was responsible for the training of an entire generation of musicians in Hungary, and for helping to shape the country’s musical culture. After World War II, his career foundered when he was falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer. In 1953, at the age of 76, Dohnányi returned to international prominence with a triumphant “re-debut” at Carnegie Hall. Ernst von Dohnányi: A Song of Life, written from a firsthand perspective by Dohnányi’s widow and edited by leading Dohnányi scholar James A. Grymes, is the first full English-language biography of the artist.