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Satie, Erik

Born: 1866 AD
Died: 1925 AD

1866 – He was born on the 17th day of May this year.


1879 – Satie entered the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers soon labeled him untalented.


1884 – Dating from his first composition in 1884, he signed his name as Erik Satie, as he said he preferred it. He wrote articles for several periodicals and, although in later life, he prided himself on always publishing his work under his own name.


1887 – He left home to take lodgings in Montmartre. By this time he had started what was to be a long-lived friendship with the romantic poet Patrice Contamine, and had had his first compositions published by his father. From this year, Satie introduced himself as a "gymnopedist", shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies.


1891 – He was the official composer and chapel-master of the Rosicrucian Order "Ordre de la Rose-Croix Catholique, du Temple et du Graal", led by Sâr Joséphin Péladan, which led to compositions such as Salut Drapeau!, Le Fils des étoiles, and the Sonneries de la Rose Croix.


1892 – By mid of this year, he had composed the first pieces in a compositional system of his own making (Fête donnée par des Chevaliers Normands en l’Honneur d’une jeune Demoiselle),


1893 – Satie and Suzanne Valadon, a successful artist and long-time friend of Miguel Utrillo, started an affair early in 1893. After their first night together, he proposed marriage.


1895 – He inherited some money, allowing him to have some more of his writings printed, and to change from wearing a priest-like habit to being the "Velvet Gentleman".


1896 – By mid of this year, all his financial means had vanished, and he had to move to cheaper lodgings, first at the Rue Cortot, to a room not much bigger than a cupboard


1898 – From the winter of this year, Satie could be seen, as a daily routine, leaving his apartment in the Parisian suburb of Arcueil to walk across Paris to either Montmartre or Montparnasse, before walking back again in the evening.


1899 – He started making money as a cabaret pianist mostly accompanying Vincent Hyspa, later also Paulette Darty, adapting over a hundred compositions of popular music for piano (or piano and voice), adding some of his own.


1905 – He enrolled in Vincent d’Indy’s Schola Cantorum to study classical counterpoint while continuing his cabaret work. Most of his friends were as dumbfounded as the professors at the Schola when they heard about his new plan to return to the classrooms especially as d’Indy was an admiring pupil of Saint-Saëns, not particularly favored by Satie.

1908 – He would follow these courses at the Schola, as a respected pupil, for more than five years, receiving a first (intermediate) diploma in this year.


1916 – He and Cocteau worked on the ballet Parade, which was premiered in 1917 by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso, and choreography by Léonide Massine.


1919 – He was in contact with Tristan Tzara, the initiator of the Dada movement. He got to know the other Dadaists, such as Francis Picabia later to become a Surrealist, André Derain, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, etc. On the day of his first meeting with Man Ray, they fabricated Man Ray’s first readymade: The Gift in 1921.


1925 – He passed away on the 1st day of July this year in Paris.