[ M U S I C ] BY GREGORY MOOMJY
A Tempestuous NJ Voice Returns Via NJSO
THE AVANT-GARDE COMPOSER George
Antheil may not be New Jersey’s most
famous musical figure, but he is certainly
one of its most colorful and accomplished.
Born in Trenton in 1900, Antheil
studied composition and music theory in
Philadelphia and New York. He settled in
Paris in 1923 at the encouragement of the
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, whose
innovative, often violent, rhythms would
influence Antheil’s work, notably his fierce,
famous (and infamous) Ballet Mécanique.
The 1926 Paris premiere of the piece—a
storm of player pianos, bells, fire alarms
and sirens—won cheers as well as boos
and culminated in a riot, scarring Antheil’s
reputation. Still, this was Paris in the ’20s,
and he was mixing it up
with the likes of Heming-
way, Joyce and Pound.
to the U.S. as Nazism
arose, but failed to
engage American audi-
ences. He wrote detec-
tive stories, contributed
to medical journals
and, with Hollywood
actress Hedy Lamarr, patented a device
that prevented the jamming of radio
signals used to guide airborne torpedoes.
In 1945, Antheil published his autobiog-
raphy, The Bad Boy of Music.
of Claude Debussy, the father of musical
impressionism, and Carl Orff’s 1930s Car-
mina Burana, in which Orff infused Gre-
gorian chants with modern rhythms. The
program will be repeated October 11 at
the State Theatre in New Brunswick and
October 12 at Mayo PAC in Morristown.
For more info, see njsymphony.org. ;
NJ Monthly Newcastle Island_113:Canterbury 11/15/13 10:23 AM Page 1
up 1920s Paris.
On October 10, to open its season, the
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will
perform Antheil’s McKonkey’s Ferry, an
approachable concert overture depicting
George Washington crossing the Delaware.
The piece has a “fairly strong military ele-
ment,” says NJSO music director Jacques
Lacombe, “but it also has some beautiful
Lacombe says that Antheil, who died
in 1959, was a unique talent who “showed
an incredible level of creativity combined
with a great mastery of the orchestra.”
The season opener, to be held at NJPAC
in Newark, will include the Nocturnes
For more on George Antheil, watch
State of the Arts, September 28 and
Morristown, NJ • 103 Ridgedale Ave. • 973-539-3339
October 2, on NJTV.