Composer, guitarist and pedagogue. Lecturer at the Academy of Music in Katowice.
He was born on 18th of December 1979 in Gliwice. In 2006, he graduated (with distinction) from Aleksander Lasoń's composition class at the Academy of Music in Katowice. Having been awarded the Moritz von Bomhard Fellowship, he subsequently took up a two-year course in Steve Rouse's class at the University of Louisville (USA), from which he graduated in May 2008, with a Master of Arts.
He also gained some acclaim thanks to his first student compositions, such as Songs to Lyrics by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (Pieśni do słów Marii Pawlikowskiej-Jasnorzewskiej) for soprano, cello and piano (1999) and Variations on Sun (Wariacje na temat Słońca) for solo classical guitar (2000). These have twice earned him the second prize at the Crescendo Young Composers' Competition in Tarnów. In 2001, he was a finalist of the competition for best classical guitar composition at the Silesian Guitar Autumn Festival in Tychy. He is also a recipient of the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship Award, the Award of the President of the City of Gliwice, and of the University of Louisville Dean's Citation. In 2008 his composition Last Days of Wanda B. for symphony orchestra (2006) was nominated to the prestigious OPUS Award given by Polish Public Media. He also received 'Young Poland' scholarship from National Centre for Culture as well as TVP Kultura Guarantee of Culture Award in 2010.
His compositions have been presented at many festivals in Poland and abroad: Velvet Curtain in Lviv, Festival of Polish Music in Kraków, Festival of World Premieres Polish Modern Music in Katowice, New Music Festival in Louisville, Przemyśl Music Autumn, and Warsaw Autumn. In 2007 his piece Fiddler's Green and White Savannas Never More for male choir and chamber orchestra (2006) was presented by the Polish Radio during the 54th UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. In 2009, the Silesian Music Association and the Polish Radio in Katowice released Aleksander Nowak's first solo album Fiddler's Green. Year 2010 saw the premiere of his opera Sudden Rain directed by Maja Kleczewska in The Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw.
Aleksander Nowak is a teaching assistant at the Composition Faculty of the Academy of Music in Katowice. Since 2011 he is a president of Polish Composers Union's Department in Katowice.
Nowak says about his output:
It is hard to describe one's own music; it is challenging enough to write it – composing, I largely rely on my intuition. If I had to, although I would rather not, define the purpose of my creative activity, I would say it is the desire to create, or maybe discover a platform of mutual understanding with the listener, which enables an emotional and intellectual communication, with an inclination towards the emotional side. Based on my experience and inevitable meditations on this subject matter, I am able to tell that this can be quite well achieved through interchangeably applying that which is already familiar to the audience and that which isn't.
The latter sentence is especially important for comprehending Nowak's language of composition. He references a wide variety of styles. His music is distinct and expressive, and seemingly accessible to listeners. The composer, however, tends to break up its flow, and surprise with sudden shifts and interesting sonic solutions. He also keenly introduces a self-ironic distance to them.
- Songs to words by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska for soprano, cello and piano (1999)
- Variations on the Sun for classical guitar (2000)
- Trio for clarinet, viola and piano (2001)
- Quintet for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano (2002)
- Nowhere for chamber orchestra (2004)
- Here and Now for harp and cello (2005)
- 'June–December' Sonata for violin and piano (2005)
- The Island of Winds and Mists for symphony orchestra, mixed choir and children's voices (2006)
- Fiddler’s Green and White Savannas Never More for male choir and chamber orchestra (2006)
- Last Days of Wanda B. for string orchestra * (2006)
- Things Passed for guitar * (2007)
- Songs of Caress for soprano and piano trio (2007)
- Music to the documentary film In Search of a Legend dir. by Konstanty Kulik (2007)
- Oxidation, multimedia project (2007)
- Sudden Rain, chamber opera (2008)
- Green Mary Hill for 2 pianos (2008)
- Rajcza, Rajcza slideshow (2008)
- Quantemporette for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (2008)
- King of the Cosmos Disappears, concerto for orchestra, threads and piano (2009)
- Dark-haired Girl in a Black Sports Car for instrumental ensemble (2009)
- String Quartet No. 1 (2009)
- 3 Peaceful Street for 8 cellos (2010)
- Undertows for cello and piano (2010)
- Little Partita for violin and piano (2010)
- Cry Little Baby, Cry, miniconcerto for violin and chamber orchestra (2011)
- String Quartet No. 2 'Little Commentary on 25th Anniversary of Pro Novum' (2011)
- Satin for cello and accordion (2011)
- Breaking News for symphony orchestra and synthetic (2011)
- Night Transit for chamber orchestra (2012)
- Concerto for Guitar in Peculiar Tuning and Chamber Orchestra (2012)
- From Upstairs for violin and percussion (2012)
- Hit 2 for chamber orchestra (2012)
- Chickens and a Robot for accordion, loudspeaker and symphony orchestra (2013)
- Half-full Journal for cello, percussion and strings (2013)
- Space Opera for soloists, choir and symphony orchestra (2014)
Author: Jacek Marczyński, April 2010. Transl. AM, April 2015. Update: June 2016, AG.