Next Festival in Amsterdam? Meanwhile, check out "George Antheil: The Lost Sonatas," a new CD produced by Wergo (Germany) and sponsored by the Composers Guild of New Jersey and the Music Pro Viva Foundation (Mainz).

The Festival: March 21-22, 2003:
The Festival and Conference were a resounding success. Scholars from around the world came to evaluate and discuss Antheil's historical impact. Concerts highlighted his musical achievements, and a dance party honored him as the first DJ of the 20th century. See the slideshow. Read the New York Times article. Read the MusikTexte article (in German) (in English).

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Celebrating the "The Bad Boy of Music"

With Major Support from Yamaha Artist Services,
New York City

and from
The Times of Trenton

View Event Schedule...
as html

Check venue addresses

Read about singer Marni Rice

Press Photos

Only a few left!
The limited-edition Antheil Festival poster by Q Press and Jonathan McEllroy. Cost: $25 to festival participants.

Read the New York Times article.

Listen to the March 25th WNYC show about the Festival.

Our next Festival is probably in Holland in 2006.

What's in a Name?

Antheil is pronounced "ANN-tile"
It's a German family name, not very common.

Riots in Paris!
The public reaction to the memorable concert on October 4th, 1923, has been immortalized on film: During the performance of Antheil's wildy aggressive piano works, the audience was (as planned) incited by Satie and others to whistle and demonstrate against this monstrous music. Antheil naturally kept his cool (he claims that he was packing a pistol onstage in a silken holster). Meanwhile, Marcel L'Herbier, the father of French avant-garde cinema, was shooting away from multiple cameras onstage.
The footage thus obtained of the screaming audience was used in Herbier's silent film, finished only a few months later, L'inhumaine. Antheil was already notorious in Germany, but this event assured his celebrity in Paris for decades afterwards. Unfortunately, Antheil himself has been edited out of the film, and replaced by his good friend, the actress Georgette Leblanc.

Listen Up

These one-minute real-audio clips give a good idea of George's musical sound...

4th Piano Sonata

1st Symphony

6th Symphony

Interview (1958)

Keats (with actor Vincent Price)

Sonata Sauvage

Woman Sonata



Composers Guild of New Jersey

Organizational Committee

Bill Anderson, Composers Guild of New Jersey
Frank Brickle, Composers Guild of New Jersey
Guy Livingston, Friends of George Antheil
Alan Mallach, former director of Housing and Economic Development
Michael Mazur, Mazur Public Relations
Mauro Piccinini, Antheil Historian
Carlton Wilkinson, Composer
Jim Zombeck, New Jersey Network Television

George Antheil:
Celebrating the Man and His Music

George Antheil (pronounced "ANN-tile") is an intriguing and magnetic character. He went straight from Trenton at age 22 to overnight success in Europe as a concert pianist and a revolutionary composer. Quite simply, for a brilliant moment he was the avant-garde in music, with such aggressive and mechanically inspired pieces as the Ballet Mecanique and the Airplane Sonata. He knew everyone who was anyone in the European avant-garde, and they all couldn't help but know him.

Antheil's subsequent career was perhaps less obviously spectacular but surely every bit as unusual. He settled in Hollywood as a writer of scores for film and television, and he also found time to write prolifically on a variety of topics from endocrinology to military doctrine. His autobiography, Bad Boy of Music, remains one of the most entertaining first-hand accounts of the early Twentieth-Century musical avant-garde. Among his less-predictable accomplishments was the development of a patented torpedo-control device in collaboration with the actress Hedy Lamarr.

Both popular and scholarly interest in Antheil's work and life have been growing rapidly over the last decade. In part this is because the quality of his work has been somewhat obscured by its notoriety, and it is now being rediscovered for its own sake. But the renewed interest is also due to Antheil's unique position as a lens for viewing the artistic, cultural, and even political unfolding of the first half of the Twentieth Century.

It is difficult to look at Antheil's life today and not wonder, what is our avant-garde now? Who might our Antheils be? And so it is only appropriate that, in celebrating Antheil, we bring together in one place some of the most innovative and imaginative people working in our midst today.

Composer & Pianist,
Entrepreneur & Inventor

Born in 1900, in Trenton, New Jersey, a city for which he had a life-long nostalgia, Antheil left the United States at 22 and had an overnight success in Europe as a concert pianist and avant-garde composer. Antheil became famous for his aggressive style and mechanically inspired works: the Ballet Mécanique, the Airplane Sonata, The Death of Machines. Adopted instantly by Erik Satie, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and the moderns of Paris, Antheil surprised everyone by converting to neo-classicism in 1926 and subsequently moving back to the United States.

After a period of writing for Esquire Magazine and traveling around the country, Antheil settled in Hollywood and was hired by Ben Hecht to write film scores. In 1940 he invented and patented a torpedo-control device in conjunction with the actress Hedy Lamarr. Later he also wrote for television; the theme music of the legendary CBS series "The Twentieth Century" was his work. Aside from composing prolifically, he found time to write on topics ranging from endocrinology to music to the military. His autobiography, "Bad Boy of Music," remains one of the most entertaining first-hand accounts of the early Twentieth-Century musical avante-garde.

The George Antheil Festival 2003 was a production of the Composers Guild of New Jersey, with major support provided by Yamaha Artist Services and The Times of Trenton.

Find out about the new documentary...As seen on TV! Watch the new mini-documentary on NJN! The George Antheil story is part of NJN's program "State of the Arts." Recently nominated for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy. Bravo!


Festival Schedule (html) (pdf)

All About George Antheil

Ballet Mecanique Site

Schirmer Publishing

Top-Ten List of Antheil CDs and Books available on

Composers Guild of New Jersey

Trenton Postcards

Benjamin Lees, composer and former student of Antheil

Henry Brant, composer and student of Antheil

“Afterwards, when the piece is over, when you've stood up, taken your bow, and sat down again, when you've wiped your forehead, and your very important hands, you think: 'I wish I were a professional boxer, the next round against the Steinway would be much more comfortable wearing shorts.' ”
—George Antheil, Autobiography



This site created by Les Amis de George Antheil for the George Antheil Festival. Copyright 2003.