Aleksander Nowak

ALEKSANDER NOWAK (b. 1979) studied composition under Aleksander Lasoń at the Academy of Music in Katowice, where he has been a teacher at the Composition Faculty since 2008, and where he received his proffessor’s degree in 2019. Since 2011, Nowak has been the president of the Katowice Department of the Association of Polish Composers, coordinating the Silesian Contemporary Music Festival, the Silesian Rostrum of Composers and the Brand-New Music Festival.

Aleksander Nowak composes orchestral, chamber and solo music (the latter for guitar or piano), as well as music for the stage. His work features classic instrumentation and narration, which is clear only superficially, because he enjoys interrupting its course and surprising listeners with unexpected sound shifts or self-ironic detachment. In many cases, this is inspired by the composer’s personal experience. Fiddler’s Green and White Savannas Never More for chamber orchestra and male choir is a specific diary of Nowak’s journey towards Arctica. The inspiration for Last Days of Wanda B. is the passing of his grandmother, and Half-filled Diary tells the story of his grandfather. Many of his pieces are also based on anecdote. For example, Dark-haired Girl in a Black Sportscar (2009) was inspired by a woman who had stopped before a red light next to the composer. As an expression of everyday life, Nowak uses the idiom of popular music: its rhythmicity and repeatability. 

Aleksander Nowak is the composer of the chamber opera Sudden Rain (libretto by Anna Konieczna, 2009), the quasi-drama for solo voices and video Spoon River (created with Adam Dudek to the writings of Edgar Lee Masters, 2013) and Space Opera (libretto by Georgi Gospodinov) (2015). In 2018, he received the Polityka Passport award for the opera Ahat Ili. Siotra bogów (directed by Pia Partum, libretto by Olga Tokarczuk). In 2019, he composed the opera Drachy to a libretto by Szczepan Twardoch based on the writer’s Silesian saga; in 2020 and 2021 – further dramas making up the trilogy of works with librettos by Twardoch: Syrena. Melodrama aeterna and Pokora. Dramma giocoso. In 2021 lo firgai – The Mask, a monodram based on Stanislaw Lem’s short story Maska (The Mask) was crated; and in 2022 Baśń o sercu (Tale of the Heart), a chamber drama to a libretto by Radek Rak, based on the novel Baśń o wężowym sercu (The Tale of the Serpent’s Heart). In 2021 the Malta Festival Poznań commissioned Aleksander Novak to compose music to the poetry of Ryszard Krynicki. His piece I Symfonia – Prawda? was performed at the festival by Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Bassem Akiki. 

Scores of his works are published by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne. Recordings of his work have been released by Polskie Radio Katowice, CD Accord, Sarton and PWM-Anaklasis.