About the performance

Where do the proceeds go?

At the end of May 2020, in the middle of the first lockdown of the Corona pandemic, Igor Levit decided to put into action an unusual, almost spectacular project: The performance of Erik Satie's strange piano piece entitled "Vexations." The work, which consists of only a single sheet of music, is to be repeated - according to the composer's will - 840 times in one piece. Levit decided to share it with the world's digital audience and used a portion of the prize money from the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award to create the performance. "Vexations" is French and means torture. 
For the performance, the pianist had the sheet of music printed 840 times on numbered white sheets of paper, laying them down one by one after each repetition to reach the prescribed 840 exactly at the end.
After the performance, the sheets were picked up and given as a thank you to a generous supporter of the music scene during the Corona Crisis. Now in renewed lockdown, he decided to sell the individual sheets for the benefit of charities that support the suffering orchestral music scene. Each sheet is signed by the pianist himself.

Levit before the performance in May 2020:
“It has always been a strong wish of mine to be able to perform Erik Satie’s Vexations. While written in the 19th century, this piece was revolutionary thanks to its atonal harmony. The few notes – a theme and two variations – fit on just one sheet. The 840 repetitions though herald early on a future of aesthetic repetitiveness. The sheer duration of over 20 hours of Vexationsdoesn’t feel like a ‘nuisance’ or ‘torture’ to me, as the title would suggest, but rather a retreat of silence and humility. It reflects a feeling of resistance.
“That’s why it feels right to play the Vexations right now. My world and that of my colleagues has been a different one for many weeks now and will probably remain so for a long time. Vexations represent for me a silent scream.”

The Gilmore Artist Award

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