Paul Novak, 18, is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where he studies with Anthony Brandt. His orchestral and chamber works have been performed by ensembles including the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of USA, Worcester Chamber Music Society, and Face the Music. Novak has been selected as the recipient of numerous national awards, most recently from the Webster University National Composition Competition, National Young Composer’s Challenge, YoungArts Foundation Competition, MATA Jr. Festival, APU/J.W. Pepper Competition, and University of Indianapolis Pre-College Competition. He was recently selected as one of two Composer Apprentices to the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, where he studied with Sean Shepherd, and has also participated in summer programs at Boston University Tanglewood Institute (where he was selected as the Honors Recipient), Oberlin Conservatory, and Boston Conservatory. He strives to write music that is lyrical but fragmented, engaging in a deep exploration of the subtleties of instrumental color while investigating spectral harmony. Also an accomplished flutist and advocate for contemporary music, Novak was the founder and director of the Reno-based Artemisia Chamber Ensemble, a collective of the area’s top high school players that specializes in contemporary music.

Selected Awards and Honors: National Youth Orchestra of the United States, Composer Apprentice (2016) Azusa Pacific University/J.W. Pepper High School Composition Competition (2016): 1st place nationally in Chamber category for composition January Fragments University of Indianapolis Pre-College Composition Contest (2016): 1st place for composition Between Shadow and Soul National YoungArts Foundation Merit Winner (2015) Young Composer’s Challenge (2015): Selected as 1 of 7 national winners from 117 submissions for orchestral work Fractured Night/Blue Stars BUTI Young Artist Composition Program Honors Recipient (2015): Nominated as top student composer at Boston University Tanglewood Institute; Composition Six Significant Landscapes selected for premiere performance in Ozawa Concert Hall at BUTI Honors Recital Webster University National Young Composer’s Competition, Level I (2014): 1st place nationally for Composition Nocturne for string quartet MTNA Senior Composition Competition (2013): National Finalist, 1st in Southwest District and national finalist for Composition On the Sea for baritone and instrumental ensemble


Six Significant Landscapes (after Wallace Stevens)

Six Significant Landscapes is a programmatic work based on a series of wonderfully evocative Wallace Stevens poems of the same name. Each poem in the series suggests a unique atmosphere and uses a distinct language and tone, but subtle motivic connections create a sense of unity between the poems. As I worked on this piece, I struggled to musically capture the moods of the text while still representing this overall unity. In this performance, the final three movements of what will be a six movement cycle for narrator and octet will be performed. In the fourth movement, a trembling texture descends through a series of nocturnal variations (using a quotation from Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire) before settling back into silence. The fifth movement juxtaposes pulsing repeated notes with shimmering colors, utilizing harmonicas to draw diverse timbres from the ensemble. The sixth movement begins with a solemn progression of open fifths, but springs into a lyrical section of joyfully angular lines.

January Fragments

for solo piano

Fractured Night/Blue Stars

for orchestra