S.E.M. Ensemble

For philip guston: March 10

For Philip Guston

Sat. March 10, 2018, 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

- at -
Willow Place Auditorium, 26 Willow Pl., Brooklyn Heights
2/3/4/5 to Borough Hall or A/C/F/R to Jay St

Free - Donations Welcome

Petr Kotik, Joe Kubera, and Chris Nappi performing Feldman's Why Patterns? in 2010 at Paula Cooper Gallery.


In the lead-up to our performance at MaerzMusik in Berlin on March 25, the S.E.M. Ensemble will be performing Morton Feldman's five-hour long masterpiece For Philip Guston at Willow Place Auditorium on March 10th. For Philip Guston is rarely performed live due to its extreme duration (the last US performance was by SEM in 2000). It is more of an environment than a piece of music, and we would therefore like to invite the community to come and stop by any time between noon and 5 pm to experience this work. You can stay for the whole piece, leave and come back, or leave for good!


Morton Feldman - For Philip Guston

S.E.M. Ensemble

Petr Kotik, Director

Petr Kotik (flute); Joe Kubera (piano); Chris Nappi (percussion)



MaerzMusik: March 25

On March 25th, S.E.M. Ensemble will be performing Morton Feldman's five-hour masterpiece For Philip Guston at the MaerzMusik festival in Berlin. The performance is part of a 30-hour event "The Long Now," which closes out the festival. 

Petr Kotik, Joe Kubera, and Chris Nappi performing Feldman's Why Patterns? in 2010.

S.E.M. Ensemble

Petr Kotik, Artistic Director

Petr Kotik, Flute

Joe Kubera, Piano

Chris Nappi, Percussion

Info and ticket information can be found here.


Essential Feldman at DOX: April 7

DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague

Saturday, April 7 at 8pm

Essential Feldman

Major Works for Symphony Orchestra

First time in Europe


Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conrad Harris, Violin

Daan Vandewalle, Piano

Petr Kotík, Conductor


Piano and Orchestra (1975)
Structures (1960-62)
Violin and Orchestra (1979)

Master-Pieces at Bohemian National Hall: april 28

Petr Kotik Master-Pieces (2014-15)

Chamber opera in one act (12 scenes) – duration 70 minutes

Libretto by Petr Kotik based on the writings by Gertrude Stein

Christina Kay, Soprano (lead singer); Steven Wilson, Tenor; Jose Pietri-Coimbre, Baritone; Nick Hay, Bass; Debra Kay Anderson, James Falzone, Kerry Wolff, Narrators;

Pauline Kim, Violin; Liuh-Wen Ting, Viola; Jeffrey Reinhardt, Oboe/English Horn; Tim Leopold, Trumpet;

Caleb van der Swaagh, Violoncello; Chris Nappi, Percussion

Sunday April 28

Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd St, NYC 

The core subject of Master-Pieces is a meditation on the nature of creative work, and on works of art that we identify as masterpieces. Gertrude Stein says the following: “the masterpiece has nothing to do with human nature or with identity, it has to do with the human mind and entity. It is a thing in itself and not in relation.”  This observation could be generalized, relating not just to works of art. In a metaphorical sense, it relates to everything we do: is it about ourselves (identity), or about the work we do (entity)? A focus on the self diminishes the chance of creating something extraordinary – if it is about you, not the work you are doing, it cannot be very interesting. This is why a masterpiece is timeless and not bound to a particular person, or time, while it simultaneously is tied to its author, and is an expression of its time.

The opera Master-Pieces is a flow of meditation, conversation, quasi lecture and thinking aloud, interrupted by three narrators, whose text is taken from “The Wars I Have Seen,” the diary Stein wrote from 1943-1944. It makes reference to situations experienced by Stein during WWII and places the opera in a certain time and space.

Master-Pieces goes beyond the spectacle of musical performance, investigating a meaningful subject within a theater performance. The theatrical energy comes from the very questions raised by Stein, as she continuously veers away from her subject to contemplate and investigate issues of creative processes and the relationship between artists and the work they create. The opera is a hybrid of theater and music. The words – sometimes sung and sometimes spoken – strive to retain the poetry of Stein’s language while opening various layers of meaning.