George Antheil: Rise and Fall of a Composer

BAD BOY OF MUSIC : RISE AND FALL OF A COMPOSER

Commissioned by Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Produced, written, and directed by Guy Livingston
Executive Producers: Cathy Peters & Gretchen Miller
Writing Consultant: Aletta Becker
Engineering and Musical Consultant: Erik Hense
Recorded at WOTH Studios, in The Netherlands
Historical Consultant: Mauro Piccinini
Broadcast date: February 25, 2015

LISTEN TO SCENE ONE (teaser)

LISTEN TO THE FULL SHOW at ABC

VIEW THE RN SUBSITE

george writing in parisSynopsis:
George Antheil was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1900. Despite little training and no conservatory experience, he became one of the most revolutionary composers of the Lost Generation in Paris. Complete with airplane propellers and 16 mechanical pianos, his Ballet mécanique provoked riots and scandals in France, though the American premiere a year later in Carnegie Hall was a fiasco. Antheil moved to Hollywood in the 1930’s, and started a new life as a composer for the movies. A creative genius, he also invented a secret communications system which is the foundation of modern spread-spectrum technology. His co-inventor was actress Hedy Lamar. His neo-romantic symphonies were popular across America, but Antheil never regained the musical fame of his early years. He died suddenly of a heart-attack in New York, at age 59.

Read the Script (pdf, scene 1 only)

 

Thanks:

Interviewees: Reinbert de Leeuw, Vera Beths, Charles Amirkhanian, Paul Doornbusch, Ann Stephen, Paul Lehrman.

Many thanks to Lisa Ball, Philip and Lona Livingston, Anders Jallen, Maria Sperling. Cathy Peters and Gretchen Miller.

Historical audio courtesy of the Estate of George Antheil, KPFA, and the Other Minds Radio Archives. In addition to George Antheil we heard the voices of Jerome Moross, Vladimir Golschmann, and Benjamin Lees. Special thanks to Charles Amirkhanian, who had the foresight to conduct these interviews.

essen-overview

Ballet mécanique in Essen, Germany

 

 

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