S.E.M. Ensemble

2021-2022 Season

S.E.M. Ensemble


a complete 6-hr performance of

Many Many Women

Life World

Gowanus, Brooklyn

$15 (tickets available here)


Friday, June 3rd, 2022

6pm to Midnight

(Can't come at 6? Come at 7)

(Can't come at 7? Come at 8)

(Can't come at 8? Come at 9)

(And so forth, and so forth)

A monument from the 1970s - a durable classic, vast in scale, rich in polyphony, resonant in cultural associations, Many Many Women is Kotik's early masterpiece.

                                                                  - Kyle Gann, 1999

Petr Kotik's music, is consistently strong and distinctive (and he likes to make it long). And, I think Many Many Women is a 20th century masterpiece.
                                                                  - Christian Wolff, 2022

On June 3rd, at 6pm, S.E.M. Ensemble will present Petr Kotik's Many Many Women. This will be the first of many performances of the work this year, in Europe and the US.

Many Many Women  (1975-78) uses text from Gertrude Stein’s novellas of the same name. The composition is for six vocalists, two flutes, two trumpets, and two trombones, and spans six-hours of uninterrupted performance.

Many Many Women consists of 173 sections across 378 pages of score. Although traditionally notated, the simultaneous performance of various sections are determined by the performers, who intuitively improvise their entrances, creating a musical flow of unpredictable configurations. The music can be described as a non-dramatic "situation" without a clear beginning or ending.

Petr Kotik began composing for voice in 1971, as the result of his close collaboration with the composer and singer Julius Eastman (a founding member of S.E.M. Ensemble).  Kotik was already using the writings of Gertrude Stein for the first composition he wrote for Eastman. Many Many Women is the culmination of Kotik's series of Stein-related compositions. The duration of the complete piece is the result of Kotik's use of the whole text of the novella.

The audiences can either remain for the entire duration, or enter and exit at will. There will be a comfortable foyer available for socialization and refreshments. This concert is a collaboration with Life World in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

S.E.M. Ensemble is performing Many Many Women at 6pm on June 3rd at Life World (Gowanus, Brooklyn). The specific address is given upon purchase of a ticket. The performance is approx. 6 hours. The audience is free to leave and return at any time. Tickets - $15, advance.

Tickets available here: or on Life World's website at

Please email us at of you have any difficulties RSVP-ing

About the Composer:
Although, as a composer, Petr Kotik is regarded as self-taught, he undertook rigorous musical training both in Prague and at the Akademie für Musik in Vienna. In Prague, he took private lessons with the Czech composer Jan Rychlík. Rychlík has been a source of inspiration and admiration for Kotik throughout his life (similar to Philip Glass's admiration for Nadia Boulanger). Rychlík's work and ideas were far ahead of his time. In the late 1950s, he began to work with phase music based on African drumming, similar to Steve Reich's compositions more than a decade later. Rychlík's early beginnings as a jazz player as well as his scholarly research into music practice led him to understand and appreciate the significance of improvisation, almost half a century before it became part of the avant-garde. It is possible that the unconventional openness of Rychlík, together with the writings of Cage, which Kotik discovered at the age of eighteen, may have influenced the composer's way of thinking at his very early stage.

About SEM:

SEM is dedicated to the performance and advancement of new music, with a focus on current compositions. Since its inception in 1970, SEM has collaborated with composers who have also often performed with the group. They have included Earle Brown, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Morton Fedman, Alvin Singleton, Leroy Jenkins, Pauline Oliveros, Elliott Sharp, Jackson Mac Low, Roscoe Mitchell, Phill Niblock, David Tudor and Christian Wolff, among others. 

About Life World:

Located in the heart of the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, Life World is an ephemeral cannery-adjacent event space for performance, cinema, and more. Life World was founded in 2020 and is artist-led.












  Nothing to Advertise

This month, Ostrava Center for New Music is
producing two events to honor Petr Kotik

April 26, @ 7pm

 Galerie PLATO, Ostrava

April 28, @ 7pm
DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague

Featuring a program with World Premieres Composed just for the occasion

Christian Wolff       Small World
Anna Heflin             Such and Such is Such and Such
Bernhard Lang       Game 12
Petr Cígler              Rattle Snake No. 1
Daniel Skála           Petram
Ana Sokolović        Holub-Ježek-Kočka
Phill Niblock           Petr's Charm
Petr Bakla              Two Instances
Petr Kotik               Two in One


Performances by

Ostravská banda (international)

 and soloists

Han Kotková, violin (Lugano)

Daniel Skála, cimbalom (Ostrava)

Gabriela Krchňáčková, cimbalom (Ostrava)

Daan Vandewalle, piano (Ghent)


Bruno Ferrandis (Paris)

Jiří Rožeň (Prague)

Petr Kotik (New York)

Tickets and Information available here:



The S.E.M. Ensemble presents
String Quartets Plus

works from 1954 to 2022


Wednesday, April 6th at 7pm
Willow Place Auditorium

26 Willow Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Free Admission (RSVP here)


Works by
Morton Feldman, Alvin Lucier, Frederic Rzewski,
Petr Kotik, Ana Sokolovic,
Jordan Dykstra, and Daniel O'Connor

On Wednesday, April 6th at 7pm, the S.E.M Ensemble will perform works for string quartet, double bass, percussion, and marimba.

The program will combine music of the 1950s by Morton Feldman; the 1990s, by Frederic Rzewski and Alvin Lucier; recent works by Petr Kotik, Ana Sokolovic, and Jordan Dykstra, and a premiere by Daniel O'Connor. The concert explores musical relationships spanning seventy years, and puts forth pieces that depart from the concept of narrative drama popularized with early classicism. RSVP here.



Frederic Rzewski     Whimwhams, for marimba and string quartet (1993)                  

Ana Sokolovic          Two Miniatures (2015)

Petr Kotik                 Torso (2019)

                                     short intermission

Morton Feldman      Three Pieces for String Quartet (1954 / 1956)

Daniel O'Connor      Masking (2018 / 2022) 

                                     short intermission

Alvin Lucier              Navigations for Strings (1991)

Jordan Dykstra        Fathom Peaks Unseen for 5 string instruments and
                                 percussion (2016)


The American Avant-Garde


Three Czech Artists

The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble

Hana Kotková, Petr Kotik, Lucie Vítková

Performing Niblock, Oliveros, Wolff, Kotik and Cage

Monday, October 25
Bohemian National Hall

SEM Holiday Concert 2021

Works by Petr Kotik, Jon Gibson, John Cage and Vladimír Šrámek with inserts (1730) by Frederick the Great

The S.E.M. Ensemble

Petr Kotik, director/flute
Zen Wu, soprano
Elizabeth van Os, soprano
Roberta Michel, flute
Sam Jones, trumpet
Clint McLendon, trumpet
Will Lang, trombone
Jen Baker, trombone
Gergana Haralampieva, violin
Chris Nappi, percussion

Monday, December 20th @ 8pm

Zürcher Gallery, 33 Bleecker St, NYC

Tickets $15 online; $20 at door




Emerging Composers Workshop 2022


Thursday, February 17 at 8pm

Willow Place Auditorium
26 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights
Free Admission

The S.E.M. Ensemble & Guests

Petr Kotik, Conductor

The S.E.M. Ensemble’s initiative to read new works by emerging composers began in 1997 and has continued, every season, to the present. A workshop gives each composer time and space to work directly with musicians and the conductor. The pieces are then given a public performance at Willow Place Auditorium in Brooklyn Heights.

This year’s edition will feature works by composers aged 19 to 32 from across the country: Ian Davis, James Falzone, Anna Heflin, James Ilgenfritz, Simon Kanzler, Alex Ma, and Daniel O’Connor. Their works will be performed by the eleven musicians of the S.E.M. Ensemble and guests, conducted by Petr Kotik.


Simon Kanzler                         Windows

Alex Ma                                   The Language Exchange: Phonological Variant

Ian Davis                                 Peristyle

James Ilgenfritz                      Threshole (to Gordon Matta-Clark)

Daniel O’Connor                      Masking

Anna Heflin                             The Redundancy of the Angelic

James Falzone                        Quincunx Redux