Music: Bad Boy at 53

Composer George Antheil, 53, onetime bad boy of modern music, no longer scores compositions for mechanical pianos and fire sirens, and has created no major musical scandal since his Ballet Méchanique nearly panicked Carnegie Hall in 1927.* Instead, he has been quietly sitting in his Los Angeles home, industriously turning out music that is remarkably easy to listen to. Last week he was on hand for the opening of his third opera, Volpone, in Manhattan's minuscule Cherry Lane Theater.

Patrons could see him. sitting in the front row, a small man who has a...

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