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BALLET MECANIQUE was composed in 1924, by George Antheil, a young American composer living in Paris. It calls for a percussion orchestra of three xylophones, four bass drums, and a tam-tam (gong); two "live" pianists; seven electric bells, a siren, and three airplane propellors; and 16 synchronized player pianos. It was never performed during Antheil's lifetime, and in fact it was never performed in its full orchestration until 1999, because there was no way of coordinating 16 player pianos until MIDI compatible electric player pianos became available. To find out more about this remarkable piece, visit www.antheil.org.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|