“A star in the making,” (Seattle Pi) Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak is establishing a career as an artist of passion, energy, and authenticity in the recital and chamber music arenas. Considered one of the most outstanding musicians of his generation, Bak is a winner of the 2019 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, the recipient of the 2019 Samuel Sanders Tel Aviv Museum Prize and the 2019 John White Special Prize from the Tertis International Viola Competition. Bak is also a Sphinx Competition alum and Sphinx MPower Artist Grant Recipient. In addition to his growing solo career, Jordan Bak is a member of the celebrated New York Classical Players and guest artist with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.
Highlights of the 2019-2020 season include a Young Artist Residency with Minnesota Public Radio’s Performance Today, showcase recitals in both New York and Tel Aviv, performances with A Far Cry and Frisson Ensemble, and a 2020 concerto premiere by James Ra with the New York Classical Players. Bak will also be appearing at the Kallos Chamber Music Series in Connecticut and the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. He has been heard as a recitalist and chamber musician in the United States at such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Jordan Hall, and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, among others, and in Europe at the Verbier Festival, the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, the Centre de Musique Hindemith, and the Helsinki Musiikkitalo.
A proud advocate of 20th and 21st century new music, Bak gave the world premieres of Kaija Saariaho’s Du gick, flög for viola and mezzo-soprano and Die Aussicht for string quartet and soprano. Bak also gave an acclaimed performance of the Druckman Viola Concerto with The Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall in New York. He has additionally collaborated with such composers as Eli Greenhoe, Sampo Kansurinen, Caroline Shaw, and Delong Wang. Bak has been a presence at numerous chamber music festivals including the Verbier Festival Academy, Juilliard ChamberFest, Taos School of Music, Encore Chamber Music, Four Seasons Winter Workshop, Lac Léman Music Masterclasses, and Yellow Barn Young Artists Program. Bak has worked with members of the Borromeo, Brentano, Calidore, Cavani, Cleveland, Juilliard, Michelangelo, and Parker quartets, as well as violinists András Keller and Mihaela Martin, pianist Michel Béroff, and conductor Gábor Tákacs-Nagy.
He has also collaborated and performed with violinists Ara Gregorian, Ani Kavafian, and Hiroko Yajima, violists Sally Chisholm, Hsin-Yun Huang and Dov Scheindlin, and cellists Colin Carr and Emanuel Gruber.
A well-rounded musician, Bak has ample experience as an orchestral player, serving as co-principal violist of The Juilliard Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Symphony and Philharmonia, the Cambridge Philharmonic, and the New York All-State Symphony Orchestra. He has performed under esteemed conductors such as Stefan Asbury, Edward Gardner, Alan Gilbert, David Loebel, Susanna Mälkki, Speranza Scappucci, Gerard Schwarz, and Hugh Wolff.
Only the third violist in history to be enrolled in the Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School, Jordan Bak holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honors from New England Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where he won the 2017 Concerto Competition and was awarded the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. Additional honors and awards include The Presser Foundation Scholar Award and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Scholarship. Bak has studied with violists Hsin-Yun Huang, Dimitri Murrath, and Samuel Rhodes, and has additionally played in masterclasses for Atar Arad, Gerard Caussé, Isabel Charisius, Kirsten Docter, Veit Hertenstein, Nobuko Imai, Cynthia Phelps, Steven Tenenbom, and Tabea Zimmermann.
Bak currently lives in Far Rockaway, NY and is on the roster of Concert Artists Guild. In addition to his performing schedule, he has been invited to serve as Viola Artist Faculty for the Classical Music Institute of San Antonio, and as Guest Artist Speaker for the Children’s Orchestra Society in Long Island. Bak is on the faculty of Opportunity Music Project in New York City and serves as a Teaching Assistant for The Juilliard School ACHT Viola Studio (students of Misha Amory, Heidi Castleman, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Steven Tenenbom).
Jordan Bak drives a very loud Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T and writes for The Juilliard Journal and his own monthly blog, “let's talk.” Bak plays a 2016 viola made by renowned luthier, Jon van Kouwenhoven.