S.E.M. Ensemble


Upcoming Performances

SEM will perform a socially distanced concert outside of 25 Columbia Place on September 26th (rain check 27th), RSVP here!

Contact Us

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

Phone: (718) 488-7659

Contact Dexter Dine, Managing Director at:

Doing Music Outdoors

Socially Distanced Concert
25 Columbia Place, Brooklyn NY 11201
Entrance Through Playground Gate

Saturday, September 26, 3:00pm
Rain Check: Sunday, September 27, 3:00pm



Michael Shumchaer Solitary Confinements (2020) (Premiere)

Judith Berkson Chevrusa (2020) (Premiere)

Robert Ashley The Mystery of the River (1991)
Thomas Buckner, baritone; Tom Hamilton, electronics

Morton Feldman Why Patterns? (1978)

Alvin Lucier Love Song (2016)
String Noise

Petr Kotik No Agency / Tuba Mirum (2019 / 2020)

Phill Niblock Exploratory, Rhine Version "Looking For Daniel" (2019) (U.S. Premiere)

Social Distance Requirements:
We are very excited to perform live music again and are committed to doing so safely.
All seating will be six feet apart, although pods are welcome to sit together. Audience members should practice social distancing at all times in the yard.
There is access to restrooms within the building. Masks are required inside at all times, and you must sign into our contact tracing log when entering the building. Restrooms are limited to two occupants at a time.
All other access to the building is off limits.


Unfolding the past

A five-part series describing the history of music making at the S.E.M. Ensemble. The first two installments, "Part I. Introduction," and "Part II. The 1970's" are up now.

Part I. Introduction:

Part II. The 1970's:

Part III. The 1980's: Coming Soon

Part IV. The 1990's: Coming Soon

Part V. Ostrava Days / Looking Forward: Coming Soon

S.E.M. Ensemble was founded in 1970 in Buffalo, N.Y., as part of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY/Buffalo. In its time (1964 – 1980), the Center was one of the largest and most important new music performance organizations, providing creative fellowships for composers and performers from around the world.

Unlike a standard music ensemble, SEM has always been a “composer’s group.” Under the directorship of founder Petr Kotik, scores of composers and musicians have been associated with SEM over the years. To name a few: Julius Eastman, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, George Lewis, Garrett List, Laurie Spiegel, Christian Wolff, Richard Teitelbaum, Ben Neill, Jon Gibson, Amina Claudine Meyers, Christian Marclay, Morton Feldman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Earle Brown, Roscoe Mitchell, Pauline Oliveros, David Tudor and many others.

In the introductory segment, Petr Kotik recalls the background environment from which SEM emerged, shortly after his arrival from Europe in 1969. Each segment is narrated by Kotik, and is supplemented by excerpts of recordings – some live recordings of SEM go back to 1972 – plus photos and videos.
All of the music used in the series is available in full on our YouTube channel – just check the description under the videos. Please stay tuned over the coming months as we release the remaining installments of the series.

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, Virginia Dwan, Noni Pratt, Martina Forman, Allegra Fuller Snyder, Sheldon Berlow, Philip Foster, Julian Lethbridge, Raymond Learsy, Anthony Hume, Beth Greenberg & Jim Wright, Rotraut Moquay-Klein, Stephen Deutsch, and Renée Levine Packer. Special thanks to Paula Cooper, Werner Kramarsky, and Brooklyn District 33 Councilman Stephen T. Levin.


Recent News

NODO 2020 took place in Ostrava from Agust 29th-31st. Highlights can be found here.

"The World: Ostravská banda Solos" is a new video series from OCNM, with new music posted every Wednesday. The first video, featuring a new composition by Petr Kotik is up now!

Check out our video program "SEM at 50" here.

We have published excerpts from some of SEM's earliest reviews. Check them out here!

SEM's Emerging Composers Workshop took place from February 10th-14th. Applications for next season's workshop will be available in the fall!