S.E.M. Ensemble


Upcoming Performances

The Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble will perform at Bohemian National Hall on October 25th, with a preview performance on October 23rd at the Willow Place Auditorium.

Contact Us

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

Phone: (718) 488-7659

Contact Dexter Dine, Managing Director at:

October 25th: The American Avant-Garde & Three Czechs

The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble
Returns to Bohemian National Hall


The American Avant-Garde
Three Czech Artists

Hana Kotková, Petr Kotik, Lucie Vítková

Performing Niblock, Oliveros, Wolff, Kotik and Cage

Monday, October 25 @ 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street, NYC

FREE – RSVP Required

Preview Performance
Saturday, October 23 @ 8 pm

Willow Place Auditorium

26 Willow Place, Brooklyn NY

FREE – RSVP Required

The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble will return to the Bohemian National Hall on October 25th for their first performance since May, 2019. The orchestra will present a program of major, large-scale pieces by American composers that have been closely associated with the work that SEM and its Artistic Director Petr Kotik have done both in Europe and the U.S. On the program will be American premieres of Christian Wolff’s Invisible Terrain, Petr Kotik’s Wednesdays at RW on Spring Street and Phill Niblock’s Exploratory, Rhine version “Looking for Daniel”. There will also be performances of Five by John Cage, and From Unknown Silences by Pauline Oliveros, both of which were written for SEM. The violinist Hana Kotková and the composer and accordionist Lucie Vítková will join as soloists. The orchestra will also perform a free preview performance at Willow Place Auditorium on October 23rd.
In 1998, when Kotik asked Phill Niblock to compose an orchestra piece for him, it marked the beginning of Niblock’s work with orchestra. Exploratory, Rhine version “Looking for Daniel (2019) is his most recent such piece; it will be performed with full orchestra instrumentation for the first time in America.
In 1997, Petr Kotik curated the "Music of Extended Duration" festival in Prague. Kotik commissioned a new piece by Pauline Oliveros for the festival; the result was an hour-long composition entitled Four Meditations for Orchestra. It was premiered at the Prague Castle by the 101-piece Janáček Philharmonic, Pauline Oliveros as soloist on accordion, Petr Kotík conducting. The first part of the piece, entitled From Unknown Silences (1996) will be performed at this concert. The soloist Lucie Vítková will perform on a custom Titano acoustic accordion that belonged to Oliveros.
Similar to Phill Niblock, Chrisitan Wolff began to compose orchestra pieces in the mid-1990s at Petr Kotik’s behest. After hearing Kotík’s Wednesdays at RW on Spring Street in 2019 at Ostrava Days (for solo violin and orchestra), he decided to compose a piece for solo violin and orchestra as well. Invisible Terrain (2020-21) is dedicated to Hana Kotková and Petr Kotik, and was premiered this August at Ostrava Days 2021 by Kotková and Ostravská banda, Petr Kotik conductor.
Wednesdays at RW on Spring Street was composed for Hana Kotková and premiered at Ostrava Days 2019. Petr Kotik (born 1942) continued to work on the composition after its premiere, finishing it in March, 2020. On October 25th, the finished piece will be heard for the first time. Kotik lives and works in New York, where he directs the S.E.M. Ensemble. He is the founder and artistic director of Ostrava Days.
John Cage (1912-1992) composed Five in 1988 for the new music festival in Witten, Germany. Cage had SEM and Kotik in mind when composing the piece, as they were scheduled to perform at Witten as well. The S.E.M. Ensemble premiered Five at the Witten Festival in 1989. In 1997, Kotik created a version for orchestra for a concert in Tokyo. Petr Kotik first collaborated with John Cage in 1964, when they performed together in Vienna and Prague. Their last collaboration took place in 1992, working together to prepare the first complete performance of Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis at Carnegie Hall.
The October 25th performance will take place at Bohemian National Hall, located at 321 East 73rd St, NYC. Proof of vaccination required for entry. FREE/RSVP Required. To RSVP, visit

The October 23rd performance will take place at Willow Place Auditorium, located at 26 Willow Place, Brooklyn. Proof of vaccination required for entry. FREE/RSVP Required. To RSVP, visit

S.E.M. Ensemble’s 2020-21 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 Stephen T. Levin.


Recent News

The Brooklyn Rail published a review of Ostrava Days, check it out here!

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

SEM's 2020-21 season conclude 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 of "Song Books I, II" by John Cage 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.