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George Antheil

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George Antheil

Biography

George Antheil (8 July 1900, Trenton, N.J. – 12 February 1959, New York, N.U) was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, author and inventor whose modernist musical compositions explored the modern sounds – musical, industrial, mechanical – of the early 20th century.

Spending much of the 1920s in Europe, Antheil returned to the U.S. in the 1930s, and thereafter spent much of his time composing music for films and, eventually, television. As a result of this work, his style became more tonal. A man of diverse interests and talents, Antheil was constantly reinventing himself. He wrote magazine articles (one accurately predicted the development and outcome of World War II), an autobiography, a mystery novel, newspaper and music columns.

In 1941 he and the actress Hedy Lamarr developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used a code (stored on a punched paper tape) to synchronise random frequencies, referred to as frequency hopping, with a receiver and transmitter. This technique is now known as spread spectrum and is widely used in telecommunications. This work led to their being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.


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