Fran Novak

Fran NovakFran is our principal clarinetist and a founding member of QUO.

How did you come to join QUO?
I first knew about QUO from its very inception in 2009, when it was still an idea and fantasy of musicians in our sister ensemble, The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band. We were all very excited and supportive of finally forming an LGBT orchestra in NYC.

What is your favorite place to take friends visiting NYC?
Oh lord, so many places. Since NYC has everything and more it would depend on the friend; however, I’ll never forget the first time I was on top of the Empire State Building during a visit in 1998. That was so special and I still treasure those pictures. The Cloisters, Met Opera house, Central Park, and Carnegie Hall are also “high” on the list.

What musical symbol best defines you and why?
Probably the accelerando because I’m usually on the go. Having two careers as a professional musician and psychotherapist keeps me busy, and also makes me appreciate those precious moments of rallentando and ritardando.

How long have you been playing clarinet?
I’ve been playing clarinet since 3rd grade, flute and saxophone since 7th grade, and first studied conducting in 12th grade. Honestly, I was first drawn to clarinet because I like the aesthetic of it being black and white/silver – I thought it looked great. Luckily for me, we happened to be a great fit together and took to each other pretty easily. Once I first started private lessons in 8th grade it was a wrap – I found a voice and a way to communicate emotions that I never knew I could convey and I realized then that clarinet and music would always be in my life. It was the Rose étude no. 1 that year (from the book of 32 études for clarinet) when I first found my voice and learned how to sing.

Question from Thomas: What musical accomplishment are you most proud of?
Conducting the LGBAC Symphonic Band as its newest Assistant Director/Conductor is my proudest musical accomplishment. Every time I perform with QUO and LGBAC I feel a heightened sense of pride and purpose that is so special to me.