S.E.M. Ensemble

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About S.E.M. Ensemble & Petr Kotik

S.E.M. Ensemble, founded in 1970 by composer, conductor, and flutist Petr Kotik, debuted that April in Buffalo, performing works by Cornelius Cardew, John Cage, Petr Kotik, and Rudolf Komorous. Despite initially small audiences, S.E.M. Ensemble has become a distinguished new music group in the U.S., with regular New York concerts, annual European tours, and performances in South America and Japan. The New York Times praised them as representing the best of the experimental tradition.

Petr Kotik, born in 1942, studied at the Prague Conservatory, the Academy of Music, and Vienna's Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst. A self-taught composer influenced by John Cage and R. Buckminster Fuller, Kotik has led innovative music projects since founding Musica viva pragensis in 1961. Upon arriving in the U.S., he founded S.E.M. Ensemble and later expanded it into the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble in 1992.

S.E.M. Ensemble performs yearly at the Paula Cooper Gallery and Willow Place Auditorium in New York, as well as major venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Recent recordings include works by Morton Feldman, Petr Kotik, Marcel Duchamp, and others, released on Dog w/a Bone, Asphodel Ltd., and Wergo labels.

Kotik's notable compositions include "Many Many Women," "Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking," and the operas "Master-Pieces" and "William William." He also founded the biennial Ostrava Days Institute and Festival and the international chamber orchestra Ostravská banda. Kotik lives and works in New York and Ostrava.




It is a call
Creating music
Someone said

Not gesturing
Or calculating
For success

The flow

Sounds and silences
Depth, volume,
Immediacy, space,
Intimacy and directness

Unconditionally changing

Nothing new

A sweeping run
Not a pause
Not an interval
This is the new composition

Even though
After all

We are
As we were

The same place
For centuries

S.E.M. Ensemble, Inc.
25 Columbia Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone: (718) 488-7659

Contact Lola Votruba, coordinator,

S.E.M. Ensemble’s 2022-23 season has been made possible with the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts in partnership with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, The Amphion Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, The Fromm Music Foundation, The Low Road Foundation, Sheldon Berlow, Stephen J. Deutsch, Virginia Dwan, Martina Forman, Philip Foster, Allegra Fuller Snyder, Beth Greenberg and Jim Wright, Charlotta Kotik, Raymond Learsy, Julian Lethbridge, Rotraut Moquay, and Noni Pratt. Special thanks to Paula Cooper, Jasper Johns, Werner Kramarsky, and Brooklyn District 33 Councilman Lincoln Restler.