S.E.M. Ensemble

Upcoming Concert

S.E.M. Ensemble at Paula Cooper Gallery

Sol LeWitt Exhibition

534 W. 21st St. New York, NY

Tues. October 11, 2016, 8:00 pm

Tickets: $15 advance, $20 same day

available here from Brown Paper Tickets

Patron tickets: $300

includes reserved prime seating, $285 tax-deductible donation

To purchase, contact SEM directly at (718) 488-7659 or


Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #368, Paula Cooper Gallery



Petr Kotik:   William William (2016) American premiere
                                   Choreography by Matilda Sakamoto

Alvin Lucier:   Navigations for Strings (1991)

Alvin Lucier:   Love Song (2016) World premiere


S.E.M. Ensemble

Lucy Dhegrae, Soprano; Jake Ingbar, Baritone; Adrian Rosas, Bass;

Debra Kay Anderson, Narrator; Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris, Violin;

Liuh-Wen Ting, Viola; Caleb van der Swaagh, Violoncello; John Altieri, Tuba

Petr Kotik, Conductor


Matilda Sakamoto, Victor Lozano, Alex Andison, Connor Bormann

"SEM continues to play a critical role in New York's musical life."
- The Guardian, May 9, 2016

SEM at Paula Cooper Gallery, December 2015


I am delighted to present a concert during the Sol LeWitt exhibit. Although Sol and I never met, he has, since the 1980s, regularly supported SEM. The music we perform must have been the reason. More than often, our programs are not in line with the prevailing trends or popular taste of the moment. Together with other artists, composers, and music followers, LeWitt’s support gave us the encouragement to go forward, because one cannot do it alone. That is certain.

Every generation struggles with the impossible task to redefine its art, not for the sake of doing something new – that itself is not interesting. We have to redefine our work because using the means from the past is banal in the view of every day’s new reality. Nothing changes from generation to generation except composition (Gertrude Stein). The meaning of the work continues to be unabated, but the composition has to change as the world around us changes. When one paints, draws, or creates objects, listening is more important than looking. A composer on the other hand must shut his or her ears because for a composer, looking is more important than listening. This may be the reason why music and art have been close companions for generations.

The wall drawings by Sol LeWitt are case in point. They are closer to music than to the way we understand visual art. All the fundamentals of music composition are here in place: there is a score (i.e. instruction for the realization), there are performers (who execute the score), and there is duration for the piece to exist. What has been actually redefined here – art or music?

                                                        – Petr Kotik


SEM and dancers perform Kotik's William William at NODO 2016, Ostrava, Czech Republic


I met Sol first through Andrea Miller-Keller who was his most eloquent and important friend and critic. Andrea suggested that Sol and I exchange works.

Sol was known for his ecumenical taste in art and had a huge collection of works by hundreds of artists. He gave me a wall drawing (#724) and I reciprocated with the hand written score of my quartet, Navigations for Strings. I was doubly honored that he later borrowed a panoramic photograph of part of the Swiss Alps that I had used in Panorama, a duo for piano and trombone, for Zug III, a gorgeous multi-colored wall drawing. More recently he asked me to supply music for his Curved Wall, an enormous sculpture first shown in Graz, Austria, later at Wesleyan. Sol LeWitt was the most kind and generous artist I have ever known.

                                                            – Alvin Lucier


Kotik conducts the premiere of Lucier's Orpheus Variations, November, 2015