Aleksander Nowak

Born in 1979 in Gliwice, he studied composition with Aleksander Lasoń at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and with Steve Rouse at the University of Louisville School of Music. His accolades include scholarships from the ‘Young Poland’ programme of the National Centre for Culture Poland as well as the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the ‘Guarantees of Culture’ award of TVP Kultura state television channel (2011), the ‘Passport’ Award of the ‘Polityka’ weekly (2018), and the ‘Coryphaeus of Polish Music’ award of the National Institute of Music and Dance (2021).

Since 2008 Nowak has worked at the Chair of Composition and Music Theory of Katowice’s Academy of Music, where he obtained his doctoral (2010) and postdoctoral (2016) degrees, as well as a professor’s title in 2022. Since 2020 he has held the post of Head of the Chair of Composition and Music Theory.

In 2011–2020 he presided over the Katowice branch of the Polish Composers’ Union. Nowak’s compositions have been presented at many prestigious festivals (such as the Warsaw Autumn, Sacrum Profanum, Festival of Premieres ‘Polish Modern Music’ in Katowice, Festival of Polish Music in Kraków, and others), as well as during concerts in the United States and a number of European countries (including the 54th International Rostrum of Composers in Paris). They have been commissioned and performed by London Sinfonietta, the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, Alarm Will Sound, NOSPR – the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, AUKSO – Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej (New Music Orchestra), and the Silesian Quartet.

The opera occupies an important place in his output. Chamber opera Sudden Rain (2008) was followed in 2015 by Space Opera to a text by the Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov. The 2018 edition of Kraków’s Sacrum Profanum festival saw the premiere of ahat-ilī – Sister of Gods to a libretto by Olga Tokarczuk, whereas in 2019 Nowak wrote the music drama Drach, to a libretto by Szczepan Twardoch, commissioned by Auksodrone festival. The Nowak– Twardoch collaboration continued with more stage works: Siren. Melodrama aeterna (2020) and Pokora. Dramma giocoso (2021). In 2021 Nowak composed Lo firgai. The Mask, a monodrama after Stanisław Lem’s short story The Mask.

In 2021 his album ahat-ilī – Sister of Gods (ANAKLASIS) won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Society in the Oratorio and Opera Music Album of the Year category, and a year later the Siren. Melodrama aeterna album (ANAKLASIS) earned him another Fryderyk in the same category.
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