==STUDIES AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC==
D’Antallfy moved to Budapest in 1902, where he attended the faculty of law at the Hungarian Royal University according to his father’s wish and at the same time he studied the organ and composing music at the Academy of Music. For four years, he was the student of [[Hans Koessler]], the famous musician who instructed many Hungarian composers including Kodály, Bartók and Weiner. After signal success he graduated outstandingly in 1906.
He studied composing music at the Academy of Music in Berlin, one of the centres of music of the time, where he had classes with [[Joseph Joachim]], a seventy-five year old violinist and composer of Hungarian origin. He worked as a conductor in the Cologne Opera House in 1907 and 1908. The next year he continued his studies in Leipzig and [[Bologna]].
In Leipzig he studied composing music from the organist [[Max Reger]], while his organ teacher was [[Karl Straube]], the virtuous organist of the famous St. Thomas Church. Leipzig was an organ-paradise at that time, whose effects can be heard in all the works by d’Antalffy.
The synthesis of Max Reger, combining the tradition of Bach with the modern moves of [[Franz Liszt|Liszt]] and [[Brahms]], is part of his mindset when seasoning his traditional themes and melodies with impressionist, [[Claude Debussy|Debussy]]-like harmonies. D’Antalffy, the composer with a vivid, open mind seems to have found his musical self at that time.
[[Enrico Bossi]], his teacher of interpretation and methodology in Bologna, had similar effects on him.Bossi’s works, which amount to a large number of 150 movements altogether, are centred around the organ. While Reger used liturgical genres, such as the coral, the fugue, Bossi composed hardly anything else but concert pieces. D’Antalffy joined the latter movement. Bossi’s impact on d’Antalffy as a teacher became tangible in 1911, when he wrote his ‘Organ School’ in two volumes, still being the most detailed and versatile course book in Hungarian focusing on both the musical and the technical development of the pupil while containing plenty of exercises and remarks.
==TEACHING AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC==
A great decade in Budapest started with his return to Hungary in 1909. Apart from a few late pieces, it was the time when he composed the vast majority of his organ pieces.
When his teacher retired in 1909, he became an organ teacher at the Academy of Music, first with a contract; however, in 1912 he also gained his tenure. Besides, in 1919 he started to teach composing music, too. In Budapest, his first concert on his own was held in January 1911, which was a great success. It was not only visited by the under-secretary, but his fellow musicians as well, who presented a bay wreath to the young virtuoso. According to the wide range of interests, he played music at the concert from the early Baroque period, including pieces by Frescobaldi, to contemporary music, involving his own pieces. Such richness remained typical all through his life.
Until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the number of his works was continuously increasing, he started performing abroad, and his expertise in organ building was exploited more and more. At the outbreak of the war, he was recruited, and had to stay in Groβwardein (or Nagyvárad) for two years. In 1916 he started working again, giving charity performances in Budapest, Transylvania and other places in the country. At the height of his career, in 1917, he became the main organist of St. Stephan’s Basilica, Budapest, thus he was playing the hugest organ in the country, built by Angster in 1905.
==ON THE WAY TO THE NEW WORLD, SUCCESS IN AMERICA==
[[File:Antalffy-Zsiross Dezső az orgonánál.JPG|thumb|right|200px|Dezso d'Antalffy at the Organ of the Academy of Music of Budapest, Hungary]]
In 1921 his life took a radical change. He must have reached everything an organist can achieve in Hungary, so the second part of his life focused on conquering the world. D’Antalffy arrived in New York on 4th January, 1921, and it took only a few days to go on stage as an accompanist on 21st January. After the success of the concert with Duci Kerékjártó, a twenty-year old violin genius, they set off on tour, giving concerts for several months. They travelled through the country, ‘half the continent’, as d’Antalffy phrased it in one of his letters. In April, one of the greatest publishers, Schirmer, was ready to produce six of his pieces. These came out the following spring. Invited by the famous entrepreneur, Samuel Roxy Rothafel, he became the organist of the two-year old Capitol Theatre, where he gave his concert next April that made him known as ‘Dohnányi of the organ’ in the press.
The Capitol Theatre with its 4,000 seats for speactators was one of the forerunners of movies, or cinema-palaces, where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions were regularly shown.
In February 1924, he was requested to become the musical director of a large scale series of performances. Morris Gest, an American producer, brought ‘The Miracle’ to America, a play by Kurt Vollmöller, directed by Max Reinhard in 1911 in Germany. The organist, the choirmaster and the conductor of the three-act play was d’Antalffy. On the way home he met his daughter and went back to Budapest, Hungary, where he received a teaching position at the Academy of Music after three and a half years of absence.
==BACK IN BUDAPEST FOR A SHORT WHILE==
Circumstances at home, however, seemed to be more difficult than expected. The organ of the Academy of Music was under reconstruction and thus temporarily unusable, making teaching as well as giving concerts impossible. The lack of income from the latter source forced d’Antalffy to give concerts in towns in the countryside. Without a proper employment, he was to accept a tour in America in December to perform ‘The Miracle’ production; next he undertook several lesser jobs as a conductor and organist.
In 1925 d’Antalffy managed to go back to teaching and giving concerts at the Academy of Music in Budapest for a year. Then for the third time, he accepted to take part in ‘The Miracle’ production and joined the company in a series of 32 performances in Los Angeles in first two months of 1927. Morris Gest, the producer, requested him to compose music for the play ‘Everyman’ by Hofmannstahl. His stay in America became longer than planned as he was invited to the Union Theological Seminary, New York. This might have been the point when he decided to stay in America for a longer time as his job in Hungary at the Academy of Music expired. The Presbyterian university, founded in 1836, provided education in theology and philosophy; however, it ran a Sacred Music School between 1928 and 1973 as well. Since d’Antalffy was employed by the institution between 1927 and 1929, he must have played an active role in the foundation of the music school and he might as well have been offered the position in order to establish it. For a year he was teaching composition, counterpoint, reading music, transposition and orchestration for the freshmen.
In one of the milder phases of the recession, at the end of 1931, he returned to America, and he never left it for Hungary, which was against his will. His former employer, Samuel Roxy Rothafel, gave him work again; he was to compose the oratory for the opening of Radio City Hall on 27th December 1932. The gigantic building of Radio City Hall (erected between 1930 and 1939) was part of Rockefeller Center, the biggest privately-owned enterprise in the modern word including fourteen skyscraper office buildings in the most modern Art Deco Style. The Hall was designed to be the largest and the most luxurious theatre in the world. The lyrics and the orchestration of his oratory, ‘The Voice of Millions’, is imbued with the idea of equal rights, his choir consisting of both black and white singers, and the lyrics containing holy texts of four world religions. His piece at the opening ceremony, which was the first worldwide broadcast by Radio City, was a great success. Due to the success, d’Antalffy was working for the theatre with 6,000 seats for spectators as a composer and organist for ten years.
That was not the end of his run of luck, however. He reached the peak of his career, at the same time with Kodály, Bartók and Stravinsky, with setting out to compose an Indian opera, his biggest endeavour.
He was toying with the idea of composing an Indian opera back in 1931 in Hungary; however, its manifestation came to life in America. ‘Onteora’s Bride’, the opera elaborating on an Indian story, was presented at his place of work, the theatre of Radio City Hall in 1934. Its reception is best described by the number of performances for the audience in New York, as the following two weeks it was played four or five times a day, altogether 58 times. Consequently, the significant Indian Association of America even gave the honorary rank of chieftain to him.
Due to severe heart failure d’Antalffy was reduced to hospital in 1942. He did not manage to recover fully, and could not follow his wife back to Budapest. D’Antalffy was continuously considering moving back to his home country, however, the lack of money, the difficulties of travelling, his illness and problems with getting his visa stopped him. It was in a Denver nursing home, far away from his family, where he passed away at the age of 60 on 29 April, 1945.
*Magyar életrajzi lexikon I. (A–K). Főszerk. Kenyeres Ágnes. Budapest: Akadémiai. 1967. 41. p.