Ervin Nyiregyházi (January 19, 1903, Budapest – April 13, 1987, Los Angeles) was a Hungarian-born American pianist.
After several years on the concert stage in the 1920s, he descended into relative obscurity - briefly reemerging in the 1970s.
From ages six to twelve, Nyiregyházi was observed by the psychologist Géza Révész and was the subject of an article and a book, published in 1911 and 1916, respectively. Nyíregyházi's father, Ignácz, was a singer in the Royal Opera Chorus in Budapest; he was also very encouraging and caring but died when Ervin was twelve. Before Ignácz's death, he reported several extraordinary things about his son: that Ervin had tried to sing before he was one year old; that he reproduced tunes correctly before he was two; he began to compose at the age of two; and that he played almost every song he heard correctly on a mouth-organ by the time he reached age three; by the age of seven Ervin could identify any note or chord that was played for him.
He was known for his musicality just as much as his technique. On tests of general intelligence, Ervin scored a few years above average, meaning he was prodigy, not a savant. Ervin's mother, Mária, was a stage mother who tried (unsuccessfully) to dissuade him from studying opera and symphonic music and pushed her son to study the standard piano repertoire so he could concertize and make money for their family. (In later years, the pianist would claim that his mother sexually molested him.) Ervin eventually broke with his mother, and later expressed pleasure that she had perished in a Nazi concentration camp...
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