Complete list of work

Roman Z. Novak began his musical studies at the age of six with piano lessons. In 1977, he emigrated with his parents to West Germany. In 1985, he became interested in composition and, after a period of self-instruction, studied privately with J. Mainka in Karlsruhe (where he also attended seminars with M. Spahlinger).

He took part in the Darmstadt Festival in 1990 and the Oregon Bach Festival in 1994 and attended composition courses in Cesky Krumlov in 1996.

Following his return to the Czech Republic in 1991, he studied composition with Prof. Marek Kopelent at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague. While studying at the Academy, he took composition courses in Darmstadt, Eugene/Oregon, Leipzig and Cracow.

In 1995, he won second prize in the “Prague Spring Festival” international composition competition. Since 1997, he has been interested in multimedia projects and compositions that involve not only instrumental and vocal music but also speech, modern dance and the sign language of deaf-mute people.

He co-founded the civic organization “ART-n” in 1998 and served as its chairman from 2000 to 2008. He is also a member of the Atelier ’90 civic association of composers and musicologists.
From 2009 to 2016, Novak lived near Dachau in Germany. It was here that he composed the large-scale composition Ordeals – Live Paths, which focuses on the Dachau concentration camp and the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II, as well as the multimedia composition The Beauty of Merciless Times, which was commissioned by the European Capital of Culture – Pilsen 2015 project.

Throughout his career as a music teacher, Novak has composed musicals for children and adolescents. Besides his activities as a composer and teacher, he also frequently conducts both orchestras and choirs.

He lives alternately in Germany and the Czech Republic.


1986 – 1991: Attended the seminars and concerts at the University of Music in Karlsruhe
1991 – 1997: Studied composition and music theory in the class of Prof. Marek Kopelent at the Academy of Music in Prague (Czech Republic)
1993 – 2003: Studied conducting studies with Leoš Svárovský
1999: Founding member of the Art-n artistic group
since 2001: Artistic director of the Hlahol Choral Society
since 1998: Member of the composers’ association Atelier´90
since 2010: Choirmaster of the Mixed Choir Petershausen / Bavaria
teacher and freelance composer and conductor

Courses and symposia:

1996: Participated in the international music course at Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
1995: Participated in the courses of the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart (with Helmuth Rilling)
1994: Particpated in the “Oregon Bach Festival / Composers’ Symposium” in Eugene/ Oregon, USA
1990: Participated in the “Summer Course for New Music” in Darmstadt


2008: Awarded special prize for an outstanding performance at the Youth Musical Competition in Bad Herxheim
1999: Received the Ernst von Siemens Foundation sponsorship award (as part of the Ars Almichia Festival in Prague for the composition Wrap up softly, tenderly… no end)
1995: Awarded second prize at the composers’ competition at the “Prague Spring Festival”
1995: Represented the Czech Republic at the meeting of young European composers in Leipzig


Since 1993: regular appearances as conductor in Germany and Czech Republic

Concerts abroad

1994: Eugene, Oregon, USA
2003: Atlanta / Savannah, Georgia, USA
2004: Normandy, France
2006 – 2007: Bergamo, Italy
2005: Wales, Great Britain
2011: Northern Italy
2013: Rome, Italy
2015: Oxford, England and Nimes, France
2016: Monza, Italy

Commissions (selected)

1999: Festival “Ars Alchimia”: Wrap up softly, tenderly,… no end – for orchestra
2005: Prague National Theatre: No day, no night – chamber opera
2008: Hesse-Festival, Germany: Folk-song cantata – for children´s choir and ensemble
2011: Primary school in Weichs / Bavaria: Journey to Fantasia – musical for children
2013: Private commission: Holy Ludmilla – for a cappella choir
2013: Hlahol choral society: Reduta Blues – for choir and piano
2014: Czech Nonetto: …to where the roots go… – for nine instruments
2015: Primary school in Weichs / Bavaria: Squashy 85258 – musical for children
2015: High school in Markt Indersdorf /Bavaria: System failure – youth musical (based on Franz Kafka)
2015: Pilsen Philharmonie: …the beauty of pitiless times – for soloists, orchestra, speaker, dancer
2015/16: Thomas Mann School Prague: Those were the times – musical for children and youths


Complete list of work


… oi…
for violoncello (and dancer ad lib.), 1991, duration: 11′

… like petrified walls, lost after making love…
for piano solo, 1995, duration: 10′

Amirage V.
for violin and tape, 1995, duration: 7′


Please no feelings, not in this world
for violin and organ, (1989/1996), duration: 9′

Two worlds in my mind, but no space in my head
for flute and harp (1993), duration: 8′


A look in the mirror is only a suggestion of reality and an act of resigned property forced, of its own object, to self-reflection
for clarinet, violoncello and piano, 1995 , duration: 8′

It happened in those days
for soprano, violoncello and piano, Text: Jachym Topol, Bible, (1997), duration: 7′

When I hear your breath, I remember the color of your eyes, which sounds the noise in my ears
four songs for two female singers and piano, 1993, Text: Gudrun Orlet, duration: 15′

for string trio (2011)


Just once in relaxing, like a mouse in the trap
for flute, clarinet, 2 violins (or violin and viola), violoncello and percussion (snare drum), 1994,  duration: 12′

Fahrradkorb – Bicycle basket
for soprano, flute, accordion and percussion, (1997) Text: Gudrun Orlet, duration: 5′

Melodramas on poems, written before jumping out of an 8 story window
four melodramas, each with different instrumentation for 1-2 speaker, alto, recorder (alto), trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, doublebass, piano and percussion, (1991/2003) Text by Charles Bukowsky, duration: 40′

“Life on the rocks”, said the frozen man
for flute, 3 trumpets, trombone, violin and violoncello, 1994/95, duration: 9′

Hot Water Music 12′
for clarinet, piano, violin, cello, keyboard and mg tape (2007)

…emotional life which I ever had… I am glad to see it…
for mezzo soprano, reciter, 2 clarinets, tuba, electric guitar, string quartet (2008)


About Time Surrounded by the Depth
for string quartet (2002)

Tango I (2012)


Composition with a Bach-recitative
chorus divided in the space for mixed choir and 2 violins and oboe (ad lib.), (1996) Text: Thomas Aquin, Bible, duration: 12′

“….was born….” 
for chamber ensemble, dance and two female voices to a biblical text (2000) /2 fl., 1 fl. dolce, 2 ob., 1 cl./sax (alt), 3 bn., soprano, alto, 2 vl., 2 vla, 2 vlc., duration: 30′

La Pieta
soprano, tenor, viola and piano (organ) (2007), duration: 7´

Holy Ludmilla
for a cappella choir (2011), duration: 7´

Songs for M.
for tenor, viola and piano (2016)


Music 4U
for small orchestra and tape, 2222-2-220- perc., strings, tape (1995), duration 14′

Between Vultures and Hen
for large orchestra, 3222-2-220, arpa, 3perc, strings,  multi-media works (1995), duration: 15′

Wrap Up Softly, Tenderly, No End…
for chamber orchestra and piano (1999), duration: 13′

for strings (2005) dur. 10´

Without time and way… in the middle of Me (2009)

The Beauty of Merciless Times
for soprano, mezzo, tenor, reciter, orchestra 2222-4230- 2 perc., strings, tape (2014/15), duration: 45´


Mourning Music for a Sunday Afternoon, Reminding…
quasi Requiem for 3 female voices, mixed choir (S.A.B.), speaker, ensemble, organ and tape, (1993/94), Text: Gudrun Orlet, Ulrike Habermeier, liturgy, duration: 25′

Live Paths for 11 instruments and percussion, adult & children reciter, soprano, alto and tenor (and dance) (2013/14), duration: 50´


Black Widow
to a text by Charles Bukowsky, for female voice and piano (1999) / awarded prize at the Z. Fibich Melodrama Composers’ Competition/, duration: 3′

He/bridge… on/most…
melodrama for reciter and piano to words by F. Kafka (2000), duration: 4′

Melodramas to the poems written by someone before jumping out of the 8th floor window.
3 melodramas based on poems by Charles Bukowsky for chamber ensemble (1991, 2003)

Blessent mon coeur d’une langueur
monotone for reciter, two clarinets, three trombones and cello to the texts by Paul Verlaine, duration: 12′

In a warming depth forreciter and ensemble (1998)


No Day, No Night
chamber opera /libretto: Gudrun Orlet/ (2005), duration: 60′


Night Eyes (Nachtaugen)
for teenager (2004), duration: 80′

Dreamers and Ignorants
Tagträumer und Weggucker (2006), duration: 90′

for teenager (2008), duration: 90´

Journey to Phantasia
for children (2011), duration: 60´

Squashy 85258
for children (2015), duration: 60´

System failure
based on Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) by Franz Kafka (2014/15), duration: 70´

Good old Times
for children (2015/16), duration: 80´


Me and it, therapeutic relationship and changing situation
for 5 instruments, 1-2 dancers, 3-4 deaf-mute actors, 3-4 speakers, 1995 Text: Vl. Holan text-collage, duration: 17′

May this silence sound them
for chamber-orchestra (13 instr.), 3 deaf-mute actors, 5-6 dancers, 1 actresses and dia-projection, text: R. R. Reimann, text-collage (1998), duration: 35′

My image is reflected in the movement of her body, its being sounds in silence
for ensemble, 2 dancers and reciter (2001)

They call it love
for chamber-orchestra, 4-5 dancers, 2 actress, 5 speakers and video, text: H. Miller, J. Zábrana, Bible, F. Kafka, (1996/97), duration: 26′

Live Paths for 11 intruments and percussion, adult & children reciter, soprano, alto and tenor (and dance) (2013/14), duration: 50´