The collection is open for research. Researchers may page items by contacting the Music Library staff.
The collection consists of George Antheil?s correspondence. All but one of the letters are photocopies, the dates range from 1920 to 1959. Charles Amirkhanian collected photocopies of Antheils?s correspondence from several sources such as the Library of Congress, Princeton University, Yale University, and from the Antheil family.
George Antheil (1900-1959) was born on July 8, 1900 in Trenton, New Jersey. He studied briefly with Constantin von Sternberg and Ernest Bloch. In 1922, he traveled to Europe to pursue a career as a concert pianist, performing many of his own works such as Mechanisms, Airplane Sonata, and Sonata Sauvage. The riots that his music ensued contributed to the composer's growing notoriety. In Berlin, he met Stravinsky who exerted the single most important influence on his compositional style. In the 1920s the Parisian artistic community, including Joyce, Pound, Cocteau, Satie, Picasso, and others, championed Antheil as a musical spokesman for their modernist ideas. His crowning achievement during this period was the spectacular and controversial Ballet mécanique, a milestone in the literature for percussion ensemble that shattered conventions. Its 1927 American premiere in Carnegie Hall, a production complete with airplane propellers, resulted in an uproar. A couple of years before the tumultuous American premiere, he composed his chef d?oeuvre A Jazz Symphony (1925) for piano and orchestra that can be placed side by side with Gershwin?s most outstanding works. Antheil?s late works are characterized by a neo-romantic and neo-classic style such as the Symphonie en fa and the Piano Concerto. In 1936, he settled in Hollywood and devoted much of his time composing for the movies, and for the CBS television series "Air Power" and "Twentieth Century." The last two decades of his life were very productive; along with his over thirty film scores he composed four symphonies as well as several operas including the farcical Volpone. He also authored four books and many articles on subjects ranging from advice for the lovelorn, to endocrinology, military predictions, musical reviews, and crime novels. His autobiography Bad Boy of Music (1945) remains one of the wittiest ever written by a composer. Antheil died of heart attack on February 12th, 1959.