"In Jordan Bak they have given us a star in the making. He is a young artist to watch for."
-Jon Sobel, Seattle Pi
Far Rockaway, NY
“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, orchestral and chamber music arenas. Considered one of the most outstanding musicians of his generation, he is the winner of the 2018 Special Prize from Switzerland’s Verbier Festival Academy and the 2017 Juilliard Concerto Competition, as well as a Sphinx Competition alum and Sphinx MPower Artist Grant Recipient. A strong advocate of both contemporary 21st century music and music of the Baroque era, Bak’s repertoire ranges from Jean-Philippe Rameau to Joan Tower and other composers of today. In addition to his growing solo career, Bak is a member of New York City’s celebrated Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.
Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include showcase recitals at WQXR The Greene Space, The Juilliard School’s Paul Hall, and the Meredith Willson Theater in New York, performances with The Crossing and the inaugural MuseConnect series, and new music collaborative projects with composers Eli Greenhoe, Caroline Shaw, and Delong Wang. Jordan Bak will also be appearing at the Kallos Chamber Music Series in Connecticut, the Mellon Music Festival in California and at the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Bak recently performed with historical performance ensemble Juilliard415 and is working on programming both historically-informed and newly-composed music in solo performance.
Recent performance highlights include an acclaimed performance of the Druckman Viola Concerto with The Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall in New York. Bak has also been heard as a recitalist and chamber musician in the United States at such venues as Jordan Hall, Lyric Hall, Dairy Arts Centre, and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, among others, and in Europe at the Verbier Festival, the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, and the Centre de Musique Hindemith.
"Bak was dazzling...he played with a full-bodied sound and exacting intonation and articulation. His playing was so constantly involving and impressive that one was drawn to each note and phrase."
-George Grella, New York Classical Review
An avid chamber musician, Bak has played a wide range of works, but particularly enjoys pieces written around the turn of the 20th century. Chamber music festivals include 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 Ioana Cristina Goicea, Ara Gregorian, and Quan Yuan, violists Hsin-Yun Huang and Dov Scheindlin, and cellists Colin Carr, Emanuel Gruber, and Joel Noyes.
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 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 and Dimitri Murrath, and is currently studying with Samuel Rhodes. Additionally, he has 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. 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 The Malverne School of Music in Malverne, NY, 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.