Antheil, George, 1900-1959

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1900-07-08
Death 1959-02-12
Americans
English, German, French

Biographical notes:

George Antheil, 1900-1959, composer of ultramodern music in the 1920's, prominent in the Parisian literary and artistic avant-garde of the period; subsequently composer of film scores in Hollywood as well as orchestral works and ballets; after 1939 composing in a more traditional style.

From the description of George Antheil papers, 1919-1959. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 460879070

Composer.

From the description of An explanation of my evolution since 1924, 1927 Dec. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 643089921

From the description of George Antheil autograph postcard to Mabel and Bob Schirmer, 1931. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 643089914

From the description of Papers, 1925-1938. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 36165849

American composer.

From the description of George Antheil letter to Pierre Monteux, 1949 Jan. 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597682

From the description of George Antheil autograph letter to David Sackson, 1948 Nov. 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597661

From the description of George Antheil letter to Johnny Green, 1955 Sept. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597667

From the description of George Antheil letter to David Sackson, 1948 Dec. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597677

From the description of George Antheil letter to Pierre Monteux, 1948 Sept. 13. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597658

From the description of George Antheil letter to Johnny Green, 1954 Feb. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597672

From the description of George Antheil autograph letter to Pierre Monteux, 1946 Mar. 1. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597654

From the description of George Antheil letter to David Sackson, 1952 Nov. 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 502306258

From the description of George Antheil letter to Johnny Green, 1955 May 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 503597675

From the description of Materials relating to "Ballet mecanique," 1925-1971. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 122394278

George Antheil was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and studied music with Constantin von Sternberg, Ernest Bloch, and with Clark Smith at the Philadelphia Conservatory. He established a reputation in Europe as a concert pianist and composed music for ballet, opera, orchestra, piano, and voice. He composed film scores and wrote an autobiography, Bad boy of music (1945).

From the description of George Antheil letter to Allen Churchill, 1936 Oct. 26. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 61387438

George Antheil (b. July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey; d. February 12, 1959 in New York City) was a composer, pianist, author and inventor. He first gained fame and notoriety in the 1920s for his mechanistic compositions. As the self-proclaimed "bad boy of music," he enjoyed an avant-garde reputation and strove to be in the vanguard of artistic development in both his music and writings about music. He composed orchestral works, chamber pieces, ballets, operas, and film and television scores. In later years, Antheil's music evolved from the avant-garde to a more personal idiom that is far less well-known. Böske Antheil was a writer and wife of George Antheil.

From the description of George and Böske Antheil papers, 1875-1984 (bulk 1920-1958). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 658833375

From the description of George and Böske Antheil papers, 1875-1984 (bulk 1920-1958). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 643779250

American composer and pianist of German descent.

From the description of Typewritten letter signed, dated : Hollywood, Ca., 24 February 1944, to [Nikolay] Malko, 1944, 24 February. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270680604

From the description of Typewritten letter signed, dated : Hollywood, 25 August 1955, to Johnny [Green], 1955 Aug. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270873948

Composed 1939 but not performed at the World's Fair. Presumed lost until 1939, when holograph and autograph ms. discovered at the Fleisher Collection. First performance Carnegie Hall, New York, 29 October 1995, American Composers Orchestra, Paul Lustig Dunkel conductor [without film or narration].--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Music to a World's Fair film for World's Communications Building / Antheil. 1939. (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 42695180

George Antheil was an American composer.

From the description of Antheil articles in Modern Music, 1935-1939. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122486682

From the description of Correspondence between George Antheil and the American Federation of Musicians, 1957 June 28-July 10. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122314292

From the description of The American composer's heritage / George Antheil. 1954-1955. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122314285

From the description of TLS, 1930 Mar 20, Vienna, Austria, to Mr. Hill. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122431388

From the description of [Bad boy of music. Selections / George Antheil]. [before 1945] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122378832

From the description of Music in America / by George Antheil. [1938?] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86164367

From the description of Articles (early), Trenton, Berlin, Paris / George Antheil. [19--] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652512

From the description of Instructions for my system of orchestral indication / by George Antheil. 1957. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652535

From the description of Notes on compositions, ca. 1923-ca. 1947. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652511

From the description of Regie book to Transatlantic / [George Antheil]. [1930?] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517772

From the description of [Article on sonata form / George Antheil]. [19--] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122534881

From the description of [Poems] / George Antheil. [19--] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122534887

From the description of The musical score to The pride and the passion / George Antheil. 1957. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122687197

From the description of Antheil articles in various periodicals, 1923-1957. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122576303

From the description of George Antheil notebook, [1953?]. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122580968

From the description of Volpone revision discussions : Saturday April 12 onwards, for Alfred Perry and ourselves / George Antheil. 1952 April 12-May 12. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122576322

From the description of Composing a modern opera / George Antheil. [19--] (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122580937

From the description of Fulbright correspondence, 1951-1955. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122576324

From the guide to the TLS, Vienna, Austria, to Mr. Hill, 1930 Mar 20, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

George Antheil was an American composer. In the 1920's he was involved in the avant-garde scene in Paris and composed ultra-modern music, then wrote more accessible operas and orchestral works, and finally moved to Hollywood and composed film scores while continuing his other composition. He was the author of the autographical Bad Boy of Music.

From the description of George Antheil papers, 1912-1959. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517967

From the guide to the George Antheil papers, 1912-1959, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Antheil was born on June 8, 1900, in Trenton, NJ; he began piano lessons at age six and later studied composition under Ernest Bloch from 1919-21; after a successful tour of Europe as a concert pianist in the early 1920s he took up residence in Paris, and began composing, using jazz rhythms and mechanical devices in symphonic music; his most famous work, Ballet mécanique (1924), intended as an accompaniment to the experimental Fernand Leger film of that name, is a score that calls for such unorthodox instruments as mechanical pianos, airplane propellers, and electric bells; his opera Transatlantic (1927-28) was staged in Frankfurt in 1930; from 1929-33 he divided his time between Europe and the US, solidifying a fundamentally American style, using a synthesis of American folk-like material that appears in almost all of his later compositions; returning permanently to the US in 1933, he continued to write for musical theater and wrote ballet scores for George Balanchine and Martha Graham; he began composing for Hollywood films in 1935 while continuing his work for the concert hall and settled in Hollywood in 1936; in the 1940s, he embraced a new romantic spirit in his music, especially in his successful symphonies no. 4 & 5; wrote a set 4 operas in the early 1950s; died in New York on Feb. 12, 1959.

From the description of Motion picture and television music collection, 1936-1957. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 39526257

George Antheil, American composer and pianist.

Opera, composed 1949-1952. First performed 1953.

From the description of Volpone : a comic opera in three acts / by George Antheil ; libretto by Alfred Perry ; freely adapted from Ben Jonson's play Volpone. [1953?] (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 599250748

George Antheil (b. July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey; d. February 12, 1959, New York City) was a composer, pianist, author and inventor. He first gained fame and notoriety in the 1920s for his mechanistic compositions. As the self-proclaimed "bad boy of music," he enjoyed an avant-garde reputation and strove to be in the vanguard of artistic development in both his music and writings about music. He composed orchestral works, chamber pieces, ballets, operas, and film and television scores. In later years, Antheil's music evolved from the avant-garde to a more personal idiom that is far less well-known.

Mary Louise Curtis Bok (b. August 6,1876 in Boston; d. January 4, 1970 in Philadelphia) was founder of the Curtis Institute of Music and served as patron to composer George Antheil throughout much of his career. Antheil first made the acquaintance of Bok in 1921 through former theory and composition teacher Constantin von Sternberg. Despite her generous financial support, Bok was not, as she wrote in a letter to Antheil dated April 13, 1931, "in sympathy with the so-called modern trend," and generally disapproved of Antheil's music. Antheil dedicated a number of his musical works to Bok, including Night piece, Six little pieces for string quartet, and Symphonie in Fa. She was married to Edward W. Bok, editor of Ladies' home journal, until his death in 1930. In 1943, she married violinist Efrem Zimbalist then director of the Curtis Institute.

From the description of George Antheil correspondence with Mary Louise Curtis Bok, 1921-1940. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 651155332

George Antheil (b. July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey; d. February 12, 1959, New York City) was a composer, pianist, author and inventor. He first gained fame and notoriety in the 1920s for his mechanistic compositions. As the self-proclaimed "bad boy of music," he enjoyed an avant-garde reputation and strove to be in the vanguard of artistic development in both his music and writings about music. He composed orchestral works, chamber pieces, ballets, operas, and film and television scores. In later years, Antheil's music evolved from the avant-garde to a more personal idiom that is far less well known.

Little is known about George Antheil's relationship with Stanley Hart (dates unknown), a writer and lecturer in fine arts at Columbia University during the 1920s. Hart was a childhood friend of Antheil's who lived in Trenton, New Jersey and New York City throughout the decade in which they exchanged letters.

From the description of George Antheil correspondence to Stanley Hart, 1919-1931 (bulk 1922-1923). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 651155334

Biographical Note

Mary Louise Curtis Bok, founder of the Curtis Institute of Music, served as patron to George Antheil throughout much of his career. Antheil first made the acquaintance of Bok in 1921 through former theory and composition teacher Constantin von Sternberg. Despite her generous financial support, Bok was not, as she wrote in a letter to Antheil dated April 13, 1931, "in sympathy with the so-called modern trend," and generally disapproved of Antheil's music. Antheil dedicated a number of his musical works to Bok, including Night Piece, Six Little Pieces for String Quartet, and Symphonie in Fa .

From the guide to the George Antheil Correspondence with Mary Louise Curtis Bok, 1921-1940, (Music Division Library of Congress)

Biographical Note

Entries refer to the activities of George Antheil unless otherwise specified.

  • 1900 July 8: Born, Trenton, New Jersey
  • 1906: Begins piano studies
  • 1916: Begins studies in music theory and composition with Constantin von Sternberg in Philadelphia
  • 1919: Begins studies in composition with Ernest Bloch in New York City
  • 1920: Begins work on Symphony No. 1
  • 1921: Meets Mary Louise Curtis Bok, who acts as his benefactress for nineteen years
  • 1922: Embarks on European concert tour with stops in Budapest, Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Berlin
  • 1922: Meets Igor Stravinsky
  • 1923: Moves to Paris, where he lives above Silvia Beach’s bookshop Shakespeare and Company
  • 1925: First private performance of Ballet Mécanique is held at the Maison Pleyel
  • 1925 November 4: Marries Böske Markus in Budapest
  • 1926 June 19: First public performance of Ballet Mécanique at the Champs Elysées Theatre, with Vladimir Golschmann conducting
  • 1927 April 10: American premiere of Ballet Mécanique at Carnegie Hall, produced by Donald Friede, with backdrops by Joseph Mullen
  • 1928: Moves to Vienna to work on Transatlantic (originally titled Glare)
  • 1930 May 25: Premiere of Transatlantic in Frankfurt
  • 1933: Returns to the United States
  • 1934 February 28: First performance of Helen Retires at Juilliard School of Music
  • 1935: First synchronized film scores produced, including The Scoundrel and Once in a Blue Moon
  • 1936: Antheil family settles in Hollywood, California
  • 1937 June 8: Son Peter born in Los Angeles
  • 1940s: Writes numerous articles for Esquire and other publications on various topics, including music, romance, endocrinology, and World War II, while also composing film scores
  • 1944 February 13: Premiere of Symphony No. 4 by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski
  • 1945: Publication of autobiography, Bad Boy of Music
  • 1953 December 27: Stage premiere of Capitol of the World at the Metropolitan Opera House, with choreography by Eugene Loring
  • 1959 February 12: Dies of a heart attack in New York City

From the guide to the George and Böske Antheil Papers, circa 1875-1984, (bulk 1920-1958), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Biographical Note

Little is known about George Antheil's relationship with Stanley Hart (dates unknown), a writer and lecturer in fine arts at Columbia University during the 1920s. Hart was a childhood friend of Antheil's who lived in Trenton, New Jersey and New York City throughout the decade in which they exchanged letters.

From the guide to the George Antheil Correspondence to Stanley Hart, 1919-1931, (bulk 1922-1923), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Biographical Note

Antheil was born on June 8, 1900, in Trenton, NJ; he began piano lessons at age six and later studied composition under Ernest Bloch from 1919-21; after a successful tour of Europe as a concert pianist in the early 1920s he took up residence in Paris, and began composing, using jazz rhythms and mechanical devices in symphonic music; his most famous work, Ballet mTcanique (1924), intended as an accompaniment to the experimental Fernand Leger film of that name, is a score that calls for such unorthodox instruments as mechanical pianos, airplane propellers, and electric bells; his opera Transatlantic (1927-28) was staged in Frankfurt in 1930; from 1929-33 he divided his time between Europe and the US, solidifying a fundamentally American style, using a synthesis of American folk-like material that appears in almost all of his later compositions; returning permanently to the US in 1933, he continued to write for musical theater and wrote ballet scores for George Balanchine and Martha Graham; he began composing for Hollywood films in 1935 while continuing his work for the concert hall and settled in Hollywood in 1936; in the 1940s, he embraced a new romantic spirit in his music, especially in his successful symphonies no. 4 & 5; wrote a set 4 operas in the early 1950s; died in New York on Feb. 12, 1959.

From the guide to the George Antheil Motion Picture and Television Music Collection, 1936-1957, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. University of California, Library Special Collections)

George Antheil was born on July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey. His parents were Henry William and Wilhelmine Huse Antheil. Although Antheil claimed to be of Polish descent, he was actually German and grew up speaking both German and English. He attended Trenton Central High School, but there is no indication that he graduated. Antheil studied piano lessons at an early age and in 1919 began to study with Constantin Ivanovich Edler von Sternberg at the Sternberg School of Music. He also briefly studied piano at the Settlement Music School. In his autobiography, Bad Boy of Music, Antheil claimed to have been a student alternately at the Curtis Institute of Music and what he refers to as the "Curtis Settlement School," which did not exist. Both of these statements were untrue.

Antheil traveled around Europe as a concert pianist playing "modern music" as well as his own compositions. Antheil became friends with many of the important intellectuals of that time, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. During this time, and for quite a few years after, Antheil was financially subsidized by Mary Louise Curtis Bok (who founded the Curtis Institute of Music). While in Europe, Antheil met a student named Böski Marcus from Hungary. They married in 1925. Antheil's best known piece during the 1920s was a composition entitled Ballet Mécanique scored for piano and percussion. The American premiere of this piece was deemed a failure and Antheil's reputation was never the same.

In the 1930s, Antheil moved to California and concentrated on writing film scores for such directors as Man Ray and Cecil B. DeMille. He continued to compose symphonies during this time. His 1953 opera, Volpone, opened to mixed reviews, but Antheil continued to write.

In addition to composing, George Antheil was interested in writing in general. He was a music critic, contributed columns to Esqure and other periodicals, and wrote two detective novels based on his hobby of studying glandular endocrinology. His autobiography, Bad Boy of Music, was a bestseller. Antheil is also credited to co-inventing (with Hedy Lamarr) a torpedo guidance system.

George Antheil died of a heart attack in 1959.

From the guide to the George Antheil Papers, 1919-1959., (Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

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Subjects:

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  • "Orchestrated by Ernest Gold, April 25, 1959."--The life and music of George Antheil, 1900-1959 / by Linda Whitesitt. Ann Arbor, Michigan : UPI Research Press, c1983 (Item 104)
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  • Avant-garde (Aesthetics)--France--Paris
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