Celebrating the "The Bad Boy
With Major Support from Yamaha Artist Services,
New York City
The Times of Trenton
View Event Schedule...
Check venue addresses
Read about singer Marni Rice
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.
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
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.
These one-minute real-audio clips give a good idea of George's musical
(with actor Vincent Price)
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
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
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
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
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
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)
About George Antheil
Ballet Mecanique Site
List of Antheil CDs and Books available on Amazon.com
Composers Guild of New Jersey
Lees, composer and former student of Antheil
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