George Antheil

1900 (Trenton, N.J.) – 1959 (New York)

Antheil was an ambitiously avant-garde composer whose Ballet Mécanique scores, composed for Léger’s film, have entered the modernist canon. Stravinsky, met in Berlin, was his hero (though Antheil’s abuse of their friendship cut it short). In Paris, Picasso, Yeats and Joyce championed him, and especially Pound (even though he understood nothing of Antheil’s music), both Pound and Joyce (a good musician) planning various collaborations with him. Eliot and Werfel helped him with a crime novel. He dined with Satie and Cocteau, corresponded widely, and really did patent an advanced torpedo guidance system with Lamarr.