John Novacek


John Novacek

2023-2024 Artist-in-Residence

Versatile, Grammy-nominated pianist JOHN NOVACEK regularly tours the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia as solo recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist; in the latter capacity he has presented over thirty concerti with dozens of orchestras. Mr. Novacek begins his current season with an appointment to the Piano and Collaborative Piano faculty of The Mannes School of Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts.

John Novacek’s major American performances have been heard in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ David Geffen and Alice Tully halls, 92nd Street Y, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, Merkin Concert Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Symphony Space, Washington’s The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, while international venues include Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Gaveau and Musée du Louvre, London’s Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre and Tokyo’s Suntory, Opera City and Bunkamura halls. He is also a frequent guest artist at festivals, here and abroad, including New York City’s Mostly Mozart Festival, California’s Festival Mozaic and those of Aspen, Cape Cod, Caramoor, Chautauqua, Colorado College, Great Lakes, Mendocino, Mimir, Music in the Vineyards, Ravinia, Seattle, SummerFest La Jolla, Wolf Trap, Canada’s Festival of the Sound, Ottawa, Chamberfest, Scotia, SweetWater and Toronto Summer Music, BBC Proms (England), Braunschweig (Germany), Lucerne, Menuhin Gstaad and Verbier (Switzerland), Serenates d’Estiu (Spain), Sorrento (Italy), Stavanger (Norway), Toulouse (France) and Sapporo (Japan). He has also made his debuts with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, as well as with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Austin, Duluth Superior, Springfield (MA) and Traverse symphony orchestras, National Academy Orchestra of Canada and Symphony Nova Scotia.

Often heard on radio broadcasts worldwide, John Novacek has appeared on NPR’s Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday and, as both featured guest composer/performer, on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. He was also seen and heard on television, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Entertainment Tonight and CNN International. Recently, Mr. Novacek has been prominently featured in discussion and performance on the highly successful PBS/Great Performances series Now Hear This. Hosted by Scott Yoo.

John Novacek is a highly sought-after collaborative artist and has performed with Joshua Bell, Renaud Capuçon, Jeremy Denk, Matt Haimovitz, Leila Josefowicz, Cho-Liang Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Truls Mørk, Elmar Oliveira and Emmanuel Pahud, and, as well as the Afiara, Colorado, Harrington, Jupiter, New Hollywood, St. Lawrence, SuperNova and Ying string quartets. He also tours widely as a member of the multi-faceted Intersection, a piano trio that includes violinist Kaura Frautschi and cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper. As a tireless advocate for contemporary music, Mr. Novacek has also given numerous world premieres and worked closely with composers John Adams, Kenji Bunch, Gabriela Lena Frank, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, George Rochberg, Robert Sierra, John Williams and John Zorn.

John Novacek took top prizes at both the Leschetizky and Joanna Hodges international piano competitions, among many others. He studied piano with Polish virtuoso Jakob Gimpel at California State University, Northridge, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude. Subsequently, he earned a Master of Music degree from New York City’s Mannes College of Music, studying with Peter Serkin in piano and Felix Galimer and Julius Levine in chamber music. Mr. Novacek’s coaches in composition included Frederick Werle, Aurelio de la Vega and Daniel Kessner.

John Novacek’s original compositions have been widely performed and frequently recorded by major international soloists and ensembles. Commissioning entities include: New York Philharmonic, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Ballet, Accordo/Schubert Club (film score), Fuji TV, Seattle Commissioning Club, Scotia Festival, Eastman School of Music, McGill University, West Texas A&M University, The 5 Browns, Concertante, Ensemble Liaison, Millennium, Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo, Harrington String Quartet, Ying Quartet, Quattro Mani. He has also prepared special arrangements for The Three Tenors, Boosey & Hawkes, EMI, Atlantic Records, John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Kiri Te Kanawa and pop diva Diana Ross.

John Novacek has recorded over 35 CDs, encompassing solo and chamber music by most major composers from Bach to Bartók, as well as many contemporary and original scores. Mr. Novacek records for Philips, Naxos, Nonesuch, Arabesque, Warner Classics, Sony/BMG, IBS Classical, Koch International, New World, Universal Classics, Ambassador, Arkay, Azica, EMI Classics, Four Winds, Pony Canyon and Virtuoso. CD titles include Road Movies (2004 GRAMMY nomination as “Best Chamber Music Performance”), Great Mozart Piano Works, Spanish Rhapsody, Novarags (original ragtime compositions), Classic Romance, Hungarian Sketches, Intersection, Romances et Meditations and, with Leila Josefowicz, Americana (GRAMOPHONE: “Editor’s Choice”), For the End of Time, Shostakovich and Recital (BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE: 5 stars/June 2005's chamber choice). 2020 saw the IBS Classical releases of Chausson’s Concert in D for Violin, Piano & String Quartet and an album of viola sonatas by Glinka, Hindemith and Schubert with Randolph Kelly.

John Novacek is a Steinway Artist.

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