February 2, 2015

95th Birthday of Prof. Hans Novak

© Historisches Archiv der Wiener Philharmoniker

Prof. Hans Novak, a former member of the first violin section and the oldest member of our orchestra, celebrated his 95th birthday on January 19, 2015. Born in Vienna in 1920, Hans Novak graduated in 1938 from the Bundesgymnasium XVI with honors and following his successful violin  study under R. Bittner, he accepted an engagement in that same year with the Innsbruck Theater. In the 1940-41 season, he secured an engagement in the orchestra in Ludwigshafen, the forerunner of the Rhenish Philharmonic. Drafted into the Wehrmacht in February 1941, he was able for the most part of this time to serve in the music corps of the general military command in Mainz. Hans Novak was released from an American prisoner of war camp in November 1945, and beginning February 1, 1946, he served as a violinist in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra after. On September 1st of the same year he became an active member of the Vienna Philharmonic.

During his 40 years of service with the orchestra, Hans Novak served in many administrative positions. In the 1960's he was the player's representative for the Vienna State Opera Orchestra as well as the person in charge of scheduling for the first violin section. He was entrusted with this latter position, which demands great exactitude and fairness, until his retirement on September 1, 1986. Just as Hans Novak was a member of our orchestra for 40 years, he also served equally long as member of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle. 

Hans Novak was awarded the title of Professor in 1965 and the Vienna Philharmonic Honorary Ring in 1971. He was awarded the Gold Medal of Service to the Republic of Austria in 1972, the Gold Medal of Service to the Province of Salzburg in 1981. He was also awarded an Honor Goblet from the Province of Salzburg in 1986.