Pianist John Novacek featured in Music Series

By: Jessica Larkin

Xavier University welcomed the internationally renowned pianist, John Novacek, as part of the Music Department’s Music Series.

Novacek has received a number of prizes at the Leschetizky and Joanna Hodges international piano competitions.

His performance this past Sunday included Robert Schumann’s “Carnaval” and Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 31.”

He also performed classical Spaniard pieces from Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados and Alberto Ginastera during the latter half of the show.

The audience arrived abuzz with conversation about the acclaimed artist. Some members compared the artist to other performances shown in the Music Series and others attended simply to enjoy the engaging music.

Expectations were high and Novacek delivered in kind with his stunning performances and his obviously passionate dedication to his work.

When asked which piece was his favorite of the repertoire, he admitted that Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 31,” the first piece he performed, is his favorite to execute.

“It’s maybe the most moving piece to me because I think it reaches great depths and heights so that, wherever I play it, it feels like a spiritual experience,” Novacek said.

The audience certainly agreed as they eagerly and heartily applauded after each piece.

The pianist even received a passionate “Bravo” from an enthused audience member at the conclusion of the “Carnaval” piece as well as a standing ovation at the close of his recital, with which he appreciated with a performance of “Solace,” by Scott Joplin.

Novacek’s practice schedule recently tightened with a busy travel agenda. When asked how often he practices, Novacek said, “On the road I don’t get very long to practice, but I try to get on the instrument that I’m playing in the concert for two or three hours before the show.”

He also practices from four to six hours at home, though that time has been greatly reduced to care for his daughter.

He laughed and said having a daughter is a “worthwhile endeavor, but there’s much less practice time now.”

Novacek’s graceful and engaging recital kept the audience emotionally involved until the last note, leaving the audience yearning for more.

Xavier’s Music Series will also host Alexander Korsantia, Lukasz Kuropaczewski and Benedetto Luppo in November and January.