Historic Performance at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.

Travis Mitchell April 14, 2013 2 Min Read

Jack KlinefelterAt 8 p.m. on April the 7th , Vanderbilt’s VORTEX percussion department presented the first ever performance in the Southeastern US of George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique on the stage of  Ingram Hall in the Blair School of Music.

Attendees witnessed the southeastern U.S. premiere of George Antheil’s restored original 1924 orchestration for Ballet Mécanique—complete with xylophones, bass drums, electric bells, airplane propellers, 13 live musicians, eight synchronized player pianos, and the rarely screened abstract film by French artist Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy. This masterpiece of 1920s Paris was introduced by David Kibler, Cultural Attaché to the Consulate General of France in Atlanta.

Eight midi equipped, state of the art, Disklavier pianos were donated by the Miller Piano Specialists Institutional Division and Yamaha of America, the Keyboard Division, to allow the Vortex department to have all the technology they needed to bring Antheil’s vision to the Ingram Hall stage.
VORTEX was joined by Tufts University’s Paul Lehrman, whose work to restore Ballet Mécanique through robotics and MIDI processing has been praised by critics:

  • “It was something to behold…a glorious din” — The Boston Globe
  • “A fully satisfying hoot of a piece” — Boston Musical Intelligencer
  • “Termites running the asylum!” — Chicago Sun Times

Never realized in Antheil’s lifetime, never performed before 1999, attendees experienced  Ballet Mécanique as “the bad boy of music” could only imagine, and as audiences from New York to London have cheered!

Miller Piano and Yamaha of America were proud to be sponsors along with the others listed below of this unique world class musical presentation.

Group photo outside the Ballet MecaniqueGroup photo outside the Ballet MecaniqueGroup photo outside the Ballet MecaniqueStage of Ballet Mecanique before it begins Prof. Michael Holland
Photo Credit:
VORTEX percussion
Michael Holland, artistic director
Photographer: Steve Green

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