George Antheil

American composer George Antheil would have been 100 this year, and the music world is celebrating - though hardly in America. Antheil was born in New Jersey on July 8, 1900, and he died in Los Angeles in 1959. While Aaron Copland's centennial is reflected all year long on program bills of American orchestras, most of these orchestras ignore Antheil's music. The situation was similar during his lifetime. Antheil, who was of German descent, caused an uproar when he visited Europe during the 1920's. The Berlin Philharmonic premiered his first symphony in 1922, and when his Ballet mécanique was premiered in Paris in 1926, Antheil's admirers and his detractors got in fistfights. Even today, Europe is showing more interest in the American composer. In Germany, his music is currently featured in numerous radio programs as well as in live concerts. Georg Hirsch undertook a search for events honoring Antheil in America, and he found a significant celebration in San Francisco.

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