S.E.M. Ensemble

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A highlight of the S.E.M. Ensemble's 2014-2015 season was participation in events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the AACM. Below, find information on some of the performances SEM was involved in throughout the season.

Roulette: September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014 at 8:00 PM


Roulette, Brooklyn
S.E.M. Ensemble
Thomas Buckner, Voice
Petr Kotik, Conductor
INTERPRETATIONS: A tribute to Robert Ashley

Thomas Buckner presents a program of pieces written especially for him by Robert Ashley (1930-2014) in their 30+ years of working together. Works include the stand-alone pieces ‘World War III, Just the Highlights’ and ‘Tract’, and three completely re-conceived concert versions of arias from the opera “Atalanta, Acts of God”: ‘The Producer Speaks’, ‘Odalisque’, and ‘Mystery of the River’, in its New York premiere. With Tom Hamilton, Joseph Kubera, Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris, JD Parran and the SEM Ensemble. Co-sponsored by Roulette and Performing Art services.


Willow Place Auditorium: September 21, 2014

The Willow Place Auditorium, Brooklyn


The S.E.M. Ensemble Presents: pianist Dante Boon 


The concert opens with two monumental yet extremely poetic pieces by Jürg Frey and Michael Pisaro. After the intermission, Boon will play his own contribution to “John’s Book”: a collection of solo pieces by all Wandelweiser composers, dedicated to pianist John McAlpine on his 65th birthday. Jürg Frey’s opus number 1 in the Wandelweiser catalogue, by now a classic of contemporary piano music “Sam Lazaro Bros.” concludes the program.


Dutch pianist and composer Dante Boon (b. 1973) has been playing and composing new music from an early age. He worked with, among others, Tom Johnson, Samuel Vriezen, Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey and James Fulkerson on recording projects and first concert performances. His solo CD "cage.frey.vriezen.feldman.ayres.johnson manion" appeared in 2010 at Edition Wandelweiser Records to positive reviews. In the making are CD's with recordings of two of Boon's vocal compositions by German soprano Irene Kurka, Feldman's For John Cage with American violinist Andrew McIntosh and chamber pieces by Jürg Frey. As a concert pianist, Dante Boon has appeared at many concert venues and festivals across Europe and the USA. Boon's compositions are published by Edition Wandelweiser.

Prague and ostrava: September 24 & 28, 2014

September 24 & 28, 2014


Ostrava & Prague
Ostravská banda with SEM members

Huddersfield: November 21, 2014

Huddersfield, UK
Ostravská banda with SEM members
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

 2014 opens with a concert honouring Christian Wolff in his 80th year and showing the long and close collaboration between Wolff and Petr Kotik, who, with the Czech Republic’s OstravskaÅL banda, makes his first visit to Huddersfield.

Presenting a cross-section of the music of Ostravska banda and New York’s S.E.M. Ensemble, with an important contribution by Thomas Buckner, the concert includes Wolff’s Trust, premiered by Ostravska banda at WDR Cologne’s 2013 ‘Ensemble Europa’ series, along with new pieces by Cigler, Mincek and Kotik. Smolka’s music further ties the programme to the biennial Ostrava Days, where all the composers have been working since 2001. The programme is completed by John Cage’s previously presumed lost and recently rediscovered version of Wolff’s For Six or Seven Players (1959), given to Kotik in 1964.

St Paul’s Hall 5:30pm
The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble & Ostravska banda
Petr Kotík, conductor
Thomas Buckner, baritone


Christian Wolff
37 Haiku

Petr Cígler
Uber das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne

Martin Smolka
Autumn Thoughts

Christian Wolff
For Six or Seven Players
(Music for Merce Cunningham)

Alex Mincek
Subito No 2

Petr Kotík
Nine + 1

Christian Wolff


Paula Cooper Gallery: December 17, 2014

A chamber opera based on texts by Gertrude Stein

Directed by Michael Rau
Kamala Sankaram (Soprano)
Marty Coyle (Tenor)
Jeffrey Gavett (Baritone)
Adrian Rosas (Bass)
Pauline Kim Harris (Violin/Viola)
S.E.M. Ensemble; Petr Kotik (Conductor)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 7:30 pm
Paula Cooper Gallery, NYC

“There may have been two [masterpieces] among the five works presented [at NODO]. Kotik's was certainly one, proving that he could craft a light and thoroughly entertaining work from Stein's texts while staying true to his rigid sensibilities.”

The Wire, London, November 2014

The S.E.M. Ensemble returns to Paula Cooper Gallery for the American premiere of American/Czech composer Petr Kotik’s Master-Pieces (2014). The staged, 60-minute chamber opera features a libretto by Kotik, based on writings by Gertrud Stein and adapted to the stage by director Michael Rau. Commissioned by the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in collaboration with New Opera Days Ostrava (NODO), Czech Republic, Master-Pieces received its world premiere at NODO last June. The opera marks Kotik’s return to Stein’s rhythmic, poetic prose, after Many Many Women and There is Singularly Nothing, both composed in the 70’s.

Workshop February 2015 

The S.E.M. Ensemble presents:


Featuring a preview of Ushio Torikai's new work for Baritone and Orchestra

The S.E.M. Ensemble
Thomas Buckner, Baritone
Petr Kotik, Conductor

Monday, February 9 10:00AM – 3:30PM
Tuesday, February 10 2:00PM – 7:00PM
Wednesday, February 11 4:00 – 7:00PM

Wednesday, February 11 @ 8:30PM

Willow Place Auditorium
26 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights

About the 2015 workshop:
The S.E.M. Ensemble’s Reading of New Compositions was initiated in 1997 and has continued, every season, to the present. During the three-day workshop each composer is provided with time and space to work directly with the conductor and musicians. The workshop culminates in a reading-performance, open to the public. This year’s reading includes works by an international group of composers who reside in the New York area and the Midwest: Colin Tucker, Chung Eun Kim, Yang Ming and Tai-Kuang Chao. It also includes an accordion, trumpet and clarinet trio by Australian/Sri Lankan composer Nirmali Fenn. Additionally Ushio Torikai's new work Remember for baritone and orchestra will be performed.

Nirmali Fenn               Through a glass darkly
Colin Tucker                engulfed, constrained in a widening gap
Chung Eun Kim           pieta
Yang Ming                   lapse of time
Tai-Kuang Chao          walking in the mist
Usio Torikai                 Remember


The grand finale of the celebration of the AACM’s 50th anniversary, presented by the S.E.M. Ensemble in partnership with the Interpretations series, features major works for symphony and chamber orchestra by composers associated with the AACM – Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, George Lewis and Henry Threadgill – as well as works by John Cage, Christian Wolff and Petr Kotik. April 28 includes a duo by Mitchell and Lewis (Lewis’ Bound) and on April 29, a rare performance by the distinguished improvising trio of Abrams, Lewis, and Mitchell.

Tuesday April 28, 2015 @ 8 pm
The S.E.M. Ensemble
Ostravská banda

Wednesday April 29, 2015 @ 8 pm
The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble

Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73rd St
New York


Dr. Faustus: New Synchronisms


Dr.Faustus: Composers' Project

The concert features five world premieres of works for solo instrument and electronic sounds by composers Elizabeth Adams, André Brégégère, Nicholas R. Nelson, Inés Thiebaut, and Red Wierenga, performed by Jen Baker (tbn), Steve Beck (pf), Karen Kim (vn), Liam Kinson (cl), and John Singer (perc); and a performance of Davidovsky’s Synchronism No. 12 by Ben Ringer (cl).

When / Where

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 @ 8:00 PM

The Willow Place Auditorium
26 Willow Place, Brooklyn
Take R to Court Street, or 2,3,4,5 to Borough Hall