Versatile, Grammy Award-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 30 concerti with dozens of orchestras.
His major American performances have been heard in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ David Geffen and Alice Tully theaters, 92nd Street Y, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, Merkin Concert Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Symphony Space, Washington’s 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. He has 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 and Traverse symphony orchestras, National Academy Orchestra of Canada and Symphony Nova Scotia.
A highly sought-after collaborative artist, he 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 with violinist Kaura Frautschi and cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper. As an advocate for contemporary music, Novacek has also given many 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.
Novacek took top prizes at both the Leschetizky and Joanna Hodges international piano competitions. 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. Novacek’s coaches in composition included Frederick Werle, Aurelio de la Vega and Daniel Kessner.
His original compositions have been performed and recorded by major international soloists and ensembles. Commissioning entities include New York Philharmonic, St. 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 Five Browns, Concertante, Ensemble Liaison, Millennium, Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo, Harrington String Quartet, Ying Quartet and 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.
Novacek has recorded more than 35 albums, encompassing solo and chamber music by composers from Bach to Bartók, as well as many contemporary and original scores. He 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. Titles include “Road Movies” (2004 Grammy nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance), “Great Mozart Piano Works,” “Spanish Rhapsody,” “Novarags” (original ragtime compositions) and with Leila Josefowicz, “Americana.”
In 2022, Novacek was appointment to the piano and collaborative piano faculty of the Mannes School of Music at the New School’s College of Performing Arts in New York City.
John Novacek is a Steinway Artist.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.