S.E.M. Ensemble

T H E   R E T U R N
The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble
The Annual Christmas-time Concert at
Paula Cooper Gallery
534 West 21st Street, NYC
Sunday, December 11th 2022

Tickets $15 advance / $20 door

Petr Kotik and the Orchestra of The S.E.M. Ensemble at Paula Cooper Gallery in 2011


Petr Kotik, Many Many Women (1975-78) on text by Gertrude Stein / 60-minutes

Jean-Philippe Rameau, Suite in 8 parts from Les Indes Galantes (1735)

Pauline Oliveros, Tuning Meditation (1997) from Four Meditations for Orchestra

John Cage, Five (1988) orchestra version by Petr Kotik (concert duration - approximately 2 hours 15 minutes)


After three years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the S.E.M. Ensemble returns to Paula Cooper Gallery for a Christmas-time concert. It also marks the return to the grand Gallery space on 21 Street that has not been used since 2018. S.E.M. Ensemble started its Christmas-time concerts at Paula Cooper Gallery in 1983 and have continued presenting them yearly. On occasion, these concerts have also included a piece of early music. This year, it will be the Suite by Jean-Philippe Rameau from his opera of Les Indes Galantes – eight selections of dances with an overture and the well-known Chaconne. All other music on the program is related to SEM and Petr Kotik. His composition for voices and instruments, Many Many Women on text by Gertrude Stein, premiered at the Paula Cooper Gallery in 1979, can be performed either complete (the duration being up to 6-hours), or in part (John Cage started such a strategy in his Concert for Piano and Orchestra in the mid-1950s). On December 11th, the selected sections will be performed for 60 minutes. A shorter performance does not diminish the composition (a six-hour performance is rarely done). Tuning Meditation is part two of Four Meditations for Orchestra, which Pauline Oliveros created in 1997 for Petr Kotik's "Music of Extended Duration" festival in Prague. She premiered it as soloist with the Janáček Philharmonic, led by Kotik, at the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle. Five by John Cage was composed in 1988 for the performance by the S.E.M. Ensemble at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik festival in Germany. Since then, the piece has become part of SEM's repertoire, including a version for larger ensemble created by Petr Kotik in 1990s.

Purchase tickets here:

Petr Kotik receives 2022 John Cage Award


On January 27th, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts announced its 2022 awards, with 20 artists recognized in the fields of dance, music & sound art, performance art & theater, poetry, and the visual arts. Among the grantees is Petr Kotik, who receives the 2022 John Cage Award.

Since 1992, the John Cage Award has been given biannually to a composer, musician, or performance artist who has contributed to challenging cultural horizons in the spirit of John Cage. Past awardees include Toshi Ichiyanagi, Phill Niblock, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Ashley, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff, Takehisa Kosugi, and David Tudor.

Kotik had previously been awarded a Grant to Artists by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 1996.  

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) was founded in 1963 by John Cage and Jasper Johns with the support of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, Marcel Duchamp, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol. More information on the FCA's history can be found here.

SEM congratulates Petr and the other grantees on this achievement.


Recent News

On February 17th, SEM held the 2022 Emerging Composers Workshop and Concert  – See our Instagram for photos.

Petr Kotik has received the 2022 John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Learn more here.

New York Classical Review published a review of our recent holiday concert. Read it here!

The Brooklyn Rail published a review of Ostrava Days. Check it out here!

Ostrava Days 2021 took place from August 9 - 28. For more information about the Institute and Festival, click here.

SEM's 2020-21 season concluded in June. Explore it here.

SEM's New Music Outdoors I concert is now available to watch on YouTube.

OCNM has published a video of SEM's performance John Cage's "Song Books I, II" at the NODO 2018 Festival. Watch it here.

Check out the first two segments of "Unfolding the Past" on SEM's history here! More soon.

Contact Us

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

Phone: (718) 488-7659

Contact Emma Minges, coordinator,

S.E.M. Ensemble’s 2021-22 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.