The Gilmore Keyboard Festival presents a live virtual concert from featured pianist Igor Levit, playing Erik Satie's 20-hour composition 'Vexations' in Berlin.

Like everything else in 2020, a signature Kalamazoo event has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Gilmore Keyboard Festival has not been cancelled, but is happening online; performers have been working virtually on their keyboards just like you.

Saturday, May 30, beginning at 8 am, 2018 Gilmore artist Igor Levit will be playing Erik Satie's "Vexations" live from Berlin. The performance will not end until after 4 am Sunday morning. It is a single page of music, but is designed to be repeated 840 times.

 In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.

-Composer Erik Satie's notation on the score of Vexations 

Erik Satie was a French composer whose work influenced the minimalist school. You have probably heard his music in television commercials or movies without knowing it.   "Gymnopédies" is probably his most famous piece: a beautiful, haunting, piano composition. (Think impressionistic paintings in the rain.)

Igor Levit, a performer at the 2018 Gilmore Keyboard Festival will be playing Satie's "Vexations" live from Berlin to raise awareness for the plight of artists worldwide amidst the coronavirus pandemic. He says he is not intimidated by the scope of the piece and that this is what the world needs right now.

The sheer duration of over 20 hours of Vexations doesn’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 represents for me a silent scream.”

-Pianist Igor Levit

Gilmore Keyboard Festival 2018 | Igor Levit

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Gilmore Keyboard Festival 2020 | Igor Levit live from Berlin

h/t MLive

A Nearly Empty Kalamazoo



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