Ostravská Banda Presents Two NYC Concerts: Works by Glass, Rzewski and more

Featuring premieres and contemporary music from the Czech Republic and the USA conducted by Jiří Rožeň and Petr Kotik with members of the S.E.M. Ensemble.
Includes works by Frederic Rzewski, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, and many others. In-person participation from composers Petr Bakla, František Chaloupka, Petr Kotik, Jana Vörösová, Roscoe Mitchell, Phill Niblock, and Christian Wolff.

In April 2023, the Czech Republic’s Ostrava Center for New Music will present two concerts by Ostravská banda in New York City with a program of music by Czech and American composers: on April 20 at the Buchwald Theater at Brooklyn College (part of the new Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College) and on April 21 at Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan. Tickets are free and may be reserved at semensemble.org/upcoming-eventsOstravská banda will collaborate with New York’s S.E.M. Ensemble, forming a 22-piece chamber orchestra. Both groups were founded by the Czech-American composer and conductor Petr Kotik, who divides his time between New York and Ostrava, Czech Republic, where he directs the bi-annual summer program Ostrava Days, of which the Ostravská banda is one of the two resident orchestras.

  • Thursday, April 20, 7 pm: Buchwald Theater, Brooklyn College: 2920 Campus Road, Brooklyn
  • Friday, April 21, 7 pm: Bohemian National Hall, 321 E 73rd St, New York

Ostravská Banda’s New York tour is made possible with the support of the National Recovery Plan and the City of Ostrava, and in collaboration with the New York-based S.E.M. Ensemble. These concerts seek to connect contemporary music with compositions from the 1960s in an examination of the Czech and American avant-garde music scenes. 

Why these concerts? Why now?
In the early 1960s in Prague, Petr Kotik began to be interested in the ideas and concepts of the New York music scene. For the group of composers in Prague which formed around Kotik’s ensemble, Musica viva pragensis, this led to a body of work close to the composers of the New York School, which differed from the music that came from Europe. Although the American influences of the New York School gradually spread throughout Europe, Prague was the first place where these American influences had an important impact. When John Cage visited Prague in 1964 and met Rudolf Komorous and Petr Kotík, he told them: “What you are doing in Prague is extraordinary, I have never encountered anything like it”.
Further and according to Petr Kotik, “the musical connection between the United States and the Czech Republic goes back to the 19th century when Antonín Dvořák spent years in the U.S. working as well as composing some of his most well-known compositions. The same could be said about Bohuslav Martinů in the mid-20th century. We seek to celebrate such an auspicious association and continue this tradition, showcasing composers’ works from 1961 to the present.”

The programs include the following composers: 

Music from 1961 – 1973
Jan Rychlík, Rudolf Komorous, Frederic Rzewski, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros
Contemporary compositions from 2012 – 2023
Petr Bakla*, František Chaloupka* (world premiere), Petr Kotik *, Jana Vörösová*, Pavel Zemek Novák, Roscoe Mitchell* (world premiere of a new version), Phill Niblock*, Christian Wolff*
* indicates in-person participation

Selected composers, alongside members of Ostravská banda and S.E.M. Ensemble, will also meet young composers at an afternoon seminar on April 20 at Brooklyn College.

Buchwald Theater, Conservatory @ Brooklyn College, April 20 at 7 pm:

Philip Glass                                  Two Pages  
2 pianos
Jan Rychlík                                  African Cyclus  
Conductor: Petr Kotik
Frederic Rzewski                      Les Moutons de Panurge 
Tutti (no conductor)


Phill Niblock                               Petr’s Charm    
Conductor: Petr Kotik
Jana Vörösová                        Oratio Phillipica   
Conductor: Jiří Rožeň
Roscoe Mitchell                       Nonaah    
Conductor: Petr Kotik

Bohemian National Hall, April 21 at 7 pm:

František Chaloupka            The Witch Waltzers (World premiere)
Conductor: Jiří Rožeň
Petr Bakla                                     Elsewhere  
Conductor: Jiří Rožeň
Rudolf Komorous                    Olympia         
Petr Kotik, Jiří Rožeň (performing)
Pauline Oliveros                      Meditations for Orchestra 
Conductor: Petr Kotik
Christian Wolff                        Trust    
Conductor: Petr Kotik


Pavel Zemek Novák            Quartet No.3
In memoriam Edvard Plocek (2011-13)
Improvistaion  with Roscoe Mitchell, Thomas Buckner and guests
Petr Kotik                                   Nine + 1    
Conductor: Jiří Rožeň

Visit these links to learn more about this collaboration:

Ostravská banda (​​newmusicostrava.cz/en/ostravska-banda/orchestra)
S.E.M. Ensemble (semensemble.org)
Conductor Jiří Rožeň (jirirozen.com)