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S.E.M. Ensemble

Upcoming Concert

The S.E.M. Ensemble presents its annual holiday concert:

Musica Elettronica

Stockhausen, Niblock, Kotik, Spiegel, Schumacher

at Paula Cooper Gallery, Mark di Suvero exhibition

534 W. 21st St. New York, NY

Friday, December 9, 8:00 pm

Advanced sale tickets: $15, $10 for students/seniors

Door tickets: $20, $15 for students/seniors

available here from Brown Paper Tickets

NOTE: There will be a FREE preview concert of this program Dec. 7 at 8 pm at Willow Place Auditorium, 26 Willow Pl. Brooklyn Heights, NY

SEM at PCG, Mark di Suvero exhibit, 2011

Preview Concert:

Wed. Dec. 7 at 8 pm at Willow Place Auditorium

26 Willow Pl. Brooklyn Heights, NY

Free admission

Program

Phill Niblock:                    Praised Fan (2016) American premiere
                                                        Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, bassoon

Karlheinz Stockhausen:   Gesang der Jünglinge (1956)

Petr Kotik:                          Kontrabandt (1967)

Michael J. Schumacher:    Filters and Filtered (2011-present)

Laurie Spiegel:                   A Harmonic Algorithm (2011)  

 


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

SEM at Paula Cooper Gallery, October 2016

 

Program Notes


Phill Niblock: Praised Fan (2016) – American premiere
This 17-minute work is based on microtonal variations around three pitches (G#, A, Bb), played in different octaves. These variations not only affect the pitch, but also the timbre and partial balance, and their layering creates complex melodies of overtones, as well as rhythmical patterns produced by tonal beatings. The work, commissioned by the Adelaide Festival in Australia, will be performed by French bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval.
 
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge ("Song of the Youths") (1956)
Hailed by many as the first masterpiece of electronic sounds, this 13-minute composition for magnetic tape and five loudspeakers integrates electronic sounds with the voice of a boy soprano singing fragments from the Book of Daniel. With it, Stockhausen tested and employed for the first time the idea of “music in space” that would finds its radical expression in Gruppen (1955-57). The work received its world premiere at West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne in 1956.
 
Petr Kotik: Kontrabandt (1967)
Petr Kotik met Stockhausen for the first time in the spring of 1965 when he visited the Studio for Electronic Music at WDR. In 1966 he received a commission from WDR to compose and realize a piece of electronic music. Scored for musicians and magnetic tape, Kontrabandt is a live electronic music work, in which performers manipulate sound sources, including 80 pre-recorded segments realized at the Studio for Electronic Music and ranging from a split second to one and a half minutes in duration. The work premiered in Cologne in 1967 as part of the WDR concert series “Musik der Zeit.”
 
Michael J. Schumacher: Filters and Filtered (2011-present)
Filters and Filtered is a 20-minute spatial sound installation originally composed for 8 channels and adapted to 4 for this performance. A "filter" is anything that comes between the transmission and reception of the signal, including equalization, bit reduction, wave-shaping, phase shifting, acoustic treatment, room resonance, masking, as well as other psycho-acoustic effects. The structure is derived from algorithms that combine elements of serial and aleatoric techniques. Filters and Filtered was presented in 14 channel versions at AVA Gallery in New York, iMAL in Brussels and at Ultraschall in Berlin.
 
Laurie Spiegel: A Harmonic Algorithm 2011
The work is the third incarnation of a computer algorithm that composes music first coded on Spiegel’s Apple II computer around 1980. Instead of creating a finite number of works, Spiegel had the idea to encode in computer software her personal compositional methods, and musical and aesthetic decisions so that new music could be composed and generated long after the biological human had ceased to exist. This particular software, based on the harmonic progressions of Bach’s chorales, merges Bach and Spiegel’s musical selves. The work was commissioned by the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

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 pksem@semensemble.org

 

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #368, Paula Cooper Gallery

 

Program

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

Dancers

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