Pavel Zemek Novák studied the oboe and composition at the Brno Conservatory of Music, continuing his studies with Miloslav Ištvan at the Janáček Academy of Music (JAMU, graduated in 1988), completing later his education on a scholarship in London (1992–1993, with G. Benjamin), and in Paris (1997–1998, with G. Grisey).
He was employed as a first oboist of the orchestra at Janacek's Theatre in Brno. Nowadays he is on the staff of the Brno Conservatory as well as the Janacek Academy of Music, where he teaches composition as a major subject.
He wrote numerous chamber and orchestral works for various combinations, but his most characteristic works are those exploring the monophonic method of composing (Unison). He is convinced that the revival of monophony can be a way out of the Western art music crisis.
His conviction resulted in writing many remarkable soloistic compositions for various instrumentations. A touch of Christian spirituality remains one of most conspicuous characteristics of most of his works, although they are largely conceived as standard concert pieces. Nevertheless, some of his works were composed since the very beginning with the medieval cathedral acoustics in mind.
He received for one of his most contemplative and spiritual work the L. Janacek Prize (Passion after St. John, 1990-1997). On the occasion of Pavel Zemek's 50th birthday there had been performed his compositions Marian Variations and 24 Preludes and Fugues by The Schubert Ensemble and William Howard /piano/ (at the concerts on November 15, and on December 5th, 2007 in London).