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Jun 21, 2017 6:00 PM



6:00 pm: Doors open
6:30 pm: Film screening
7:30 pm: Concert begins

With guests Philip Glass, George Lewis and Alex Mincek
Jacqueline Leclair, oboe, S.E.M. Ensemble and Momenta Quartet

 (le) poisson rouge is pleased to present Nothing/Everything Changes, a celebration of Petr Kotik — pioneering composer, conductor and flutist, founder and director of the acclaimed S.E.M. Ensemble and the biennial Ostrava Days Institute and Festival, and a vital force on New York’s new music scene for the last 45 years. The evening will feature a retrospective of Kotik’s iconic works; a conversation among Kotik, Philip Glass, George Lewis and Alex Mincek; and guest appearances and performances by Kotik’s close associates and friends. Untamable Kotik, a film produced in 2015-16 by the national Czech Television, will be shown before the performance, featuring the Janacek Philharmonic, S.E.M. Ensemble, Ostravská banda, Glass, Lewis and other collaborators of Kotik. The concert will run 90 minutes without intermission and will be moderated by Pauline Kim Harris.

Nothing/Everything Changes: Petr Kotik @ 75 will take place at (le) poisson rouge on Wednesday, June 21 at 6:30 pm. (le) poisson rouge is located at 158 Bleecker Street, New York City. Tickets are $20/$25 Advance/ $25/$30 Day of Show. To order tickets: http://lpr.com/lpr_events/nothing-everything-changes-petr-kotik-june-21st-2017/ 

Although living behind the Iron Curtain until 1969, Kotik established early contacts with composers to whom he felt close artistically and aesthetically, including John Cage, Lejaren Hiller, Morton Feldman, Cornelius Cardew and La Monte Young, among others.  In the 1970s, the performances of the S.E.M. Ensemble became part of the flourishing New York Downtown scene. Reminiscing about this era, Philip Glass told Kotik in a conversation they had a few years ago:

Glass: …you had a group and played this very strange music, …it didn't sound like anybody else… I mean it was…
Kotik: Unusual.
: It was different. But you liked it and we listened to it. So I thought, "Oh, here's a guy who knows what he's doing."
Kotik: Well, maybe…
Glass: You acted like you knew what you were doing.
Kotik: That's the professional side of it.
Glass: Yes, well, that's not so bad.



Jacqueline Leclair, oboe

S.E.M. Ensemble

Momenta Quartet


Petr Kotik                               Etude 7 for Oboe (1962)                         

Philip Glass                             Two Pages  (1968)                                   

Petr Kotik                               There is Singularly Nothing (1972)      

Petr Kotik                               Excerpts from Many Many Women (1975-78)    

George Lewis, Alex Mincek                                                                       Short improvisation    

Petr Kotik                               Torso – 2nd String quartet (2013)          


Petr Kotik (born 1942 in Prague, Czech Republic), studied music in Prague and Vienna and has lived in the U.S. since 1969. Since the beginning of his career, Kotik has divided his time between composing, performing (conducting and flute playing), and organizing concerts. Kotik met John Cage in Vienna in 1964 when he was asked to perform Event No. 1 with the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. A few months later, Kotik organized musicians to perform with Cunningham Co., Cage, and David Tudor in Prague and Warsaw. It was the start of a relationship with Cage that continued until 1992.  A few weeks after his arrival in the U.S., Kotik founded the S.E.M. Ensemble, which expanded in 1992 to The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble with a debut at Carnegie Hall with 86 musicians, premiering the complete Atlas Eclipticalis by Cage with David Tudor as the soloist (performing Winter Music). In 2001, Kotik founded the biennial summer institute and festival Ostrava Days, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, greatly contributing to the promotion of American contemporary music in Europe. In 2005, he founded the international chamber orchestra Ostravská banda and in 2012, he co-founded the opera festival NODO. In 1973, Kotik researched and realized the musical work of Marcel Duchamp, which was recorded by Kotik, John Cage, and SEM (Dog w/a Bone label). Among the major works by Kotik are the 6-hour composition on a text by Gertrude Stein Many Many Women (1975-78), the 4-hour composition on a text by R. Buckminster Fuller Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1982), Letters to Olga (1991) on a text by Václav Havel, Music in Two Movements (1998) for large orchestra, Variations for 3 Orchestras (2005), String Quartet 1 and 2 (2007, 2011) and the chamber opera Master-Pieces (2014) on a libretto by Gertrude Stein. Kotik recently completed a dance-opera, William William (2016), inspired by William Shakespeare and Natalie Babel, which was premiered at           the NODO festival in June, 2016.


Philip Glass (born in 1937 in Baltimore) is doubtlessly one of the major composers of our time. Through his operas, symphonies, compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg and Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. In reference to the musical style of his compositions, Glass prefers to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures,” rather than what is commonly described as “minimalism.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that weave in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, and develops. Among his myriad works, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; ten symphonies (with others on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; as well as several film soundtracks and theatrical/dance pieces.


George Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow, Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Ensemble Erik Satie, and others, with commissions from STEIM, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Either/Or, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Library of Congress, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, IRCAM, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others. Lewis has served as Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago; and Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley.  Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and his 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press) received the American Book Award.  His current project is Afterword, an opera commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.


Alex Mincek (b.1975) is a New York-based composer and saxophonist. He studied composition with Nils Vigeland, and saxophone/clarinet with Richard Oatts at the Manhattan School of Music (BM, MM). Mincek has also participated in master classes with Tristan Murail, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff, Pascal Dusapin, Phil Niblock, and Petr Kotik. In 1998 Mincek founded Wet Ink Musics, a composers collective dedicated to presenting new music in and around NYC. He currently serves as the group’s president and music director. In 2000, Mincek also became a founding member of the experimental ensemble Zs, with whom he performs his own music, the music of others, and improvisations. The group recently completed a US tour in addition to select performances in Europe. Mincek’s music has also been performed at festivals around the world by other ensembles including the New Mendelssohn Orchestra Leipzig, the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, the Janecek Philharmonic, Tactus, the Vega String Quartet, and the Dorikos String Quartet. Mincek’s music is available on the Vothoc/TMU and Planaria record labels. Mincek has received grants, fellowships, and other awards from organizations such as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Meet The Composer, the Ostrava Center for New Music, the University of North Florida, the Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University.


Oboist, Jacqueline Leclair, is Associate Professor of Oboe, Woodwind Area Chair, and Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. She is a member of Ensemble Signal, and can frequently be heard performing solo and chamber music concerts internationally. Dr. Leclair was formerly on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music (NYC) and was Assistant Professor of Oboe at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) 2007-2012. During her last two years at BGSU, she also served as the Director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. Dr. Leclair is the author of, Oboe Secrets: 75 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Oboist and English Horn Player (Scarecrow Press). Dr. Leclair worked directly with Luciano Berio in the preparation of the 1969/2000 edition of Berio's Sequenza VIIa of which she is the editor.


Founded by Petr Kotik, the S.E.M. Ensemble is one of the oldest new music ensembles in the U.S., performing and producing concerts continuously since 1970. Composers Julius Eastman, Garret List, and the percussionist Jan Williams were among the founding members of SEM. From the start, SEM has worked with composers, many of whom often perform with the Ensemble. They include John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Morton Feldman, David Tudor, Christian Wolff, Roscoe Mitchell, Earle Brown, Maryanne Amacher, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young, David Tudor, Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, as well as many young and emerging composers. In 1992, SEM expanded into The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble with a debut concert at Carnegie Hall. SEM continues to present performances with large-scale ensembles and orchestras. Since the mid-1970s, SEM has performed annually at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, in addition to concerts at its own venue in Brooklyn (the Willow Place Auditorium), and other locations throughout New York – from alternative spaces such as The Stone, to major halls (Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, etc.). Since the early 1970s, SEM has regularly toured in Europe and has also performed in South America and Japan. The S.E.M. Ensemble champions music which is often called “experimental” or “inaccessible,” and is rarely or never heard at mainstream music productions. The openness in programming which Petr Kotik brings to SEM concerts follows his lifelong pursuit of art that is authentic and relevant. It has not been easy, but it has made a difference.


Momenta Quartet (Emilie-Anne Gendron and Alex Shiozaki, Violins, Stephanie Griffin, Viola and Michael Haas, Cello) is a New York City-based string quartet that focuses on the performance of contemporary music. Founded in 2004, Momenta Quartet is today one of the most distinguished American string quartets, with concerts and residencies throughout the United States and Europe. Momenta has premiered over 100 works and collaborated with more than 120 composers. Momenta Quartet will appear several times during its residency at Ostrava Days Festival 2017, including an evening-length program. Among the music performed by Momenta at OD will be works by Julián Carrillo, Petr Bakla, Alex Mincek, Petr Kotik, Martin Arnold, Pawel Malinowski, Rebecca Bruton, and Georgina Bowden.



(le) poisson rouge, NYC


Jun 21, 2017 6:00 PM


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