Aleksander Nowak was born in 1979 in Gliwice. His musical education began with piano and guitar lessons with Grażyna Dzierzgowska and Grzegorz Dzierzgowski and continued as a guitarist in Bogusław Pietrzak’s class at the State Music School of the 1st and 2nd degree in Gliwice, where he also took his first steps in composition, under the tutelage of Uliana Bilan, an Ukrainian composer and pianist. He is also a graduate of Primary School No. 40 (currently No. 15) and the High School No 1 in Gliwice.

 In 2001 he began studying composition in Aleksander Lasoń’s class at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in in Katowice, and after graduation (Magister degree – equivalent of MA), he continued his studies under the guidance of Steve Rouse at the University of Louisville, USA (Master of Arts), in the years 2006-2008.

 Since 2008, he has been an employee of the Department of Composition and Theory of Music at the Academy of Music in Katowice (since 2019 – as the professor of the Academy of Music), where he teaches, among other things, composition, instrumentation and musical notation. He received his PhD in 2010, and completed habilitation in 2016. Since September 2020 he has been the Head of the Department of Composition and Music Theory.

 He is a member of ZKP (Polish Composers’ Union) and ZAiKS Society of Authors. In 2011-2020, he served as president of the Katowice branch of the Polish Composers’ Union, coordinating the “Silesian Days of Contemporary Music”, “Silesian Tribune of Composers” and “Brand-New Music” festivals.
 He composes instrumental and vocal-instrumental music, occasionally also using electronics. His works are performed in Poland and, occasionally, abroad as well. The catalogue of his works includes over 40 pieces representing various genres, from solo pieces, through songs and chamber music, to symphonic and compositions.

 An important place in his work is occupied by opera and music drama. He has created a few pieces falling into that category, often written in collaboration with contemporary writers. In 2009 and 2010, the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw staged the chamber opera entitled Sudden Rain to a libretto by Anna Konieczna, directed by Maja Kleczewska; in 2013, during the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Warsaw Autumn”, a staging of the quasi-drama for solo voices and video entitled Spoon River took place, to texts by Edgar Lee Masters, created in collaboration with Adam Dudek; and in March 2015, the premiere of the opera entitled Space Opera took place, to a libretto by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov, directed by Ewelina Pietrowiak, written on the commission of the Grand Theatre in Poznań; in September 2018, during the Sacrum-Profanum Festival, a staging of the opera ahat-ilī - Sister of the Gods took place, to a libretto by Olga Tokarczuk, directed by Pia Partum, written on the commission of the Krakow Festival Office; and in 2019 the piece entitled Drach. Dramma per musica to a libretto by Szczepan Twardoch was created, on the commission of the Auksodrone Festival ; in 2020 and 2021 – further dramas making up the trilogy of works with librettos by Twardoch: Syrena (Siren). Melodrama aeterna and Pokora (Humility). 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).

 Aleksander Nowak has never won any composition competition to date. However, he has received some distinctions, including the Award of the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship (2007), the “Guarantee of Culture” Award (2011), the “Young Poland” Scholarship of the National Centre for Culture (2011), the Scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2012, 2015), the “Polityka’s Passport” Award (2018), the Onet O!lśnienia Award (2020), the “Coryphaeus of Polish Music“ Award (2020, 2021) and the Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (2021).

Recordings of his compositions were distinguished with the “Fryderyk” Award in the category Album of the Year – opera and oratorio music, for ahat-ili Siostra bogów (Sister of the Gods) (2021) and Syrena. Melodrama aeterna (Siren) (2022)
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.


Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne – composer’s profile


Jesteśmy kosmitami – (We are all aliens) – an interview with Jan Topolski in Dwutygodnik magazine