Performing Arts

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Erik Satie

Erik Satie

French composer and writer, Erik Satie (1866-1925), was in kinship care from the age of 6 for 6 years.

Erik was born in Honfluer, in France’s Normandy region, about 198km north-west of Paris. His father, Alfred, was French and his mother, Jane, was English.

When Erik was about 4, the family moved to Paris, but Jane died 2 years later, in 1872. Erik and his young brother, Conrad, were sent back to Honfluer and lived with their paternal grandparents until their grandmother died in 1878. Alfred then had the children return to him in Paris and home schooled them.

Satie lived in Paris during his adulthood. His eccentricities—which included wearing 1 of 7 identical grey suits for 10 years (purchased on receipt of a small inheritance in 1898) and a claim that he only ate food that was white—alienated him from the ‘establishment’.

Where during his 20s he’d hung out with the ‘who’s who’ of Paris, in 1898 he moved into the unfashionable working class suburb of Arcueil, living there for 27 years in a small flat.


Satie’s work did not catch on for some years, not until long-time friend Claude Debussy made popular his Gymnopedies in 1911, by which time Satie was 45 years old. Erik Satie is now regarded as a significant influence on 20th century music.