Image promoting Erik Satie's Vexations at Jack Straw, May 15-16, 2010. Black background with piano keys on the bottom, text reading Join us at Jack Straw Productions as a rotating cast of pianists plays through Erik Satie's infamous "Vexations" theme 840 times, as suggested by the composer's note on the original manuscript, for the first time ever in Seattle.Saturday, May 15 – Sunday, May 16th, 2010

“Pour se jouer 840 fois de suite ce motif, il sera bon de se préparer au préalable, et dans le plus grand silence, par des immobilités sérieuses.”
“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.”

In May of 2010, a rotating cast of pianists at Jack Straw played through Erik Satie’s infamous “Vexations” theme 840 times, as suggested by the composer’s vexatiously enigmatic note on the original manuscript. The performance started at 4:00pm on Saturday, May 15th, and ended the following day at 11:20am, after the piece had been played exactly 840 times.  To our knowledge, this was the first time this had been done in Seattle.

The participating pianists represent a diverse swath of creative Seattle, and an impressive cross-section of Jack Straw’s artist community: Daniel Arthur, Byron Au Yong, Gavin Borchert, Gust Burns, Jensina Byington, Dawn Clement, Ann Cummings, Shenandoah Davis, Keith Eisenbrey, Garrett Fisher, Chase Hills, Robin Holcomb*, Wayne Horvitz*, Julie Ives, Karin Kajita, Jennifer Keuer, Paul Kikuchi, Brian Kinsella, Tiffany Lin, Rachel Matthews, Roger Nelson, William Chapman Nyaho, Michael Owcharuk, Hayley Pike, Tito Ramsey, Amy Rubin, Erin Rubin, Korby Sears, Nicole Truesdell, Aleksandra Tsirkel, Stanley Whitfield, and Kelly Wyse.

*Scheduled but didn’t perform; Vexations ended before scheduled time.

Thank you to our friends at Hollow Earth Radio for broadcasting the entire performance live!

Listen to Hour 8, performed by Roger Nelson:


Read on for articles, the full performer schedule, and more!

Seattle Times: “Think of it as a musical mandala.”

The Stranger: “I’m betting that Vexations is revolutionary ambient music that dissolves the boundary between listening (not just hearing) and living.”

Seattle Weekly: “I’m still deciding whether I want to try to camp out overnight and hear the whole thing.”

Performer Byron Au Yong on Vexations

Vexations Quotations:

Order of performance:

4:00pm: Karin Kajita

4:30pm: Chase Hills

5:00pm: William Chapman Nyaho

5:30pm: Ann Cummings

6:00pm: Stanley Whitfield

6:15pm: Hayley Pike

6:30pm: Garrett Fisher

7:00pm: Jennifer Keuer

7:30pm: Brian Kinsella

8:00pm: Amy Rubin

9:30pm: Aleksandra Tsirkel

10:00pm: Gust Burns

10:30pm: Erin Rubin

11:00pm: Roger Nelson

12:00am: Daniel Arthur

12:30am: Ann Cummings

1:00am: Dawn Clement

1:30am: Byron Au Yong

2:00am: Korby Sears

3:00am: Garrett Fisher

4:00am: Gavin Borchert

5:00am: Rachel Matthews

6:00am: Shenandoah Davis

7:00am: Jensina Byington

7:30am: Nicole Truesdell

8:00am: Keith Eisenbrey

8:30am: Julie Ives

9:00am: Tito Ramsey

9:30am: Kelly Wyse

10:00am: Paul Kikuchi

10:30-11:20am: Tiffany Lin

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