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(1900 - 1959)

In 1923, Antheil moved to Paris where he entered into the center of the artistic avant-garde. James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Man Ray, Léger, Satie, Picasso and many others were to become his friends and colleagues. On 4 October 1923 Antheil made his public début in Paris, at the Champs Elysées Theatre, and as a result of the ensuing riot, achieved his goal and was solidly established as the enfant terrible du jour.

In 1926, Antheil premièred the work that was to become the zenith and nadir of his career, Ballet Mécanique. Notorious for its orchestra of pianos, percussion, electric buzzers and airplane propellers, with Ballet he had reached the end of an important period in his musical development. The Piano Concertoof 1926 was one of his first large-scale essays in his new ‘neo-classic’ style, and when given its first performance in Paris in 1927 it signaled the halt of Antheil’s popularity. Later that same year, the disastrous American première of Ballet Mécanique left him financially and emotionally bankrupt. The deliberately sensationalist and provocative promotion that preceded the concert alienated his audience and marred his reputation in America well into the 1940s.

Antheil returned briefly to Europe, where he began work on his opera Transatlantic. Despite an enthusiastic reception at the opera’s première in Frankfurt in 1930, the worldwide economic collapse forced him to return to the States, where he found a new populist impulse had taken root with composers, painters, writers and filmmakers endeavouring to reach a wider public. Antheil resonated with the new movement and became involved in the musical theatre and film music communities in New York.

The 1930s was a difficult period for Antheil, who sought employment as a lonely-hearts columnist, a contributor to Esquire magazine, an author of several articles on endocrinology and later as a war correspondent. He would later write: ‘Here in early 1941, I could at last label myself a complete failure.’

Following a move to Hollywood, Antheil experienced a musical rebirth, resulting in the composition of his Symphony No. 4, ‘1942’, inspired by his work as a war correspondent. By 1946, he had reconciled his work as a film composer with his composition of ‘serious’ music and completed The Plainsman and the Lady (1946), Spectre of the Rose (1946), Sonatina for Violin and Piano (1945), Violin Concerto (1946), Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 (both 1947-48), McKonkey’s Ferry (1948), Violin Sonata No. 4 (1948), Piano Sonatas Nos. 3 and 4 (1947 and 1948, respectively), The Fighting Kentuckian (1949), Knock On Any Door (1949), and Tom Sawyer (1949). Stokowski’s successful premiére of Antheil’s Symphony No. 4 on 13 February 1944 helped to re-establish him as an important artistic voice, and the MCA Artist survey for 1947 listed him as one of the most performed American composers.

The last decade of Antheil’s life was busy and reasonably successful. A steady flow of film and television scores was accompanied by a renewed interest in musical theatre. His four late operas, Volpone (1949-1952), The Brothers, Venus in Africa and The Wish (all 1954) succeeded in synthesizing artistic discipline with a popular tunefulness, but despite enthusiastic reviews have failed to find a place in the standard repertoire.

View by Role: Classical Artist | Classical Composer | Author | Lyricist
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANTHEIL PLAYS ANTHEIL (1942-1952) Other Minds
Instrumental, Ballet, Choral - Secular, Instrumental, Ballet, Instrumental, Spoken Commentary
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANTHEIL PLAYS ANTHEIL (1942-1952) Other Minds
Choral - Secular, Instrumental, Orchestral, Instrumental, Choral - Secular, Orchestral, Instrumental, Ballet, Instrumental, Choral - Secular, Orchestral, Instrumental, Radio Show, Choral - Secular, Orchestral, Instrumental, Choral - Secular, Instrumental, Radio Show
ANTHEIL, G.: Ballet mecanique / LOPRESTI, R.: Sketch for Percussion / CHAVEZ, C.: Toccata / HOVHANESS, A.: October Mountain (Craft, Price) (1959) Naxos Classical Archives
Chamber Music
ANTHEIL, G.: Capital of the World / BANFIELD, R. de: Le combat (Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Levine) (1954) Naxos Classical Archives
ANTHEIL, G.: Jazz Symphony (A) / Piano Concerto No. 1 / Capital of the World Suite (Dupree, Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic, Steffens) Capriccio
Orchestral, Concerto, Orchestral, Concerto, Orchestral
ANTHEIL, G.: String Quartets (Complete) (Del Sol String Quartet) Other Minds
Chamber Music
ANTHEIL, G.: Symphony No. 5, "Joyous" / JOSTEN, W.: Endymion (Vienna Philharmonic, Haeffner) (1958) Naxos Classical Archives
ANTHEIL, G.: Violin Sonatina / Violin Concerto (version for violin and piano) / Spectre of the Rose Waltz (Specter) (Duo Odéon) Dorian Sono Luminus
Concerto, Chamber Music, Concerto, Chamber Music, Concerto, Chamber Music
ANTHEIL: Ballet Mecanique / Serenade for String Orchestra Naxos
Chamber Music, Orchestral, Concerto, Orchestral
ANTHEIL: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 6 / McKonkey's Ferry Naxos
BLOCH, E.: Concerto Grosso No. 2 / RICHTER, M.: Lament / ANTHEIL, G.: Serenade No. 1 (MGM String Orchestra, I. Solomon) (1956) Naxos Classical Archives
Chamber Music - SMITH, R. / HAUER, J.M. / COWELL, H. / AMIRKHANIAN, C. / SEEGER, R.C. (Scenes from a New Music Seance) (Stenberg, Zimmer) Other Minds
Chamber Music
EVANS, R.: String Quartet No. 1 / GLASS, P.: String Quartet No. 2 / ANTHEIL, G.: String Quartet No. 3 / HERRMANN, B.: Echoes Naxos
Chamber Music
Chamber Music
Flute and Piano Recital: Roorda, Thies / Soccorsi, Alessandro - ANTHEIL, G. / AURIC,G. / BRÉVILLE, P. de (Flute Music from the Harlequin Years) Naxos
Chamber Music
LUENING, O.: Symphonic Fantasia No. 1 / ANTHEIL, G.: Serenade No. 1 / HOWE, M.: Stars / Sand (Adler, Antonini, Strickland) (1957) Naxos Classical Archives
NORTH, A.: Holiday Set / SIEGMEISTER, E.: Sunday in Brooklyn (American Life) (Adler) (1956) Naxos Classical Archives
Orchestral Music - DUTILLEUX, H. / HINDEMITH, P. / KABALEVSKY, D. (Modern Times Edition) (Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic, Steffens)(10-CD Box Set) Capriccio
Orchestral, Concerto, Orchestral
Piano Recital: Shields, Rogers - MACDOWELL, E. / COWELL, H. / GERSHWIN, G. / JOPLIN, S. / IVES, C. (Piano Music in America, 1900-1945) Vox Box
Chamber Music
Role: Author 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANTHEIL PLAYS ANTHEIL (1942-1952) Other Minds
Spoken Commentary
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANTHEIL PLAYS ANTHEIL (1942-1952) Other Minds
Instrumental, Radio Show, Instrumental, Radio Show, Instrumental

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