“A star in the making,” (Seattle Pi) Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak is an outstanding artist of passion, energy, and authenticity in the recital and chamber music arenas. A Sphinx MPower Artist Grant Recipient and a top laureate of the 2020 Sphinx Competition, Bak is also a winner and Audience Prize recipient 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. In addition to his growing solo career, Jordan Bak is a member of the celebrated New York Classical Players and is a featured artist for WQXR’s inaugural Artist Propulsion Lab.
Highlights of the 2020-2021 season include virtual recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, The National Arts Club and the American Viola Society, as well as performances at WQXR/WNYC’s The Greene Space, The Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and Kaufman Music Center’s Musical Storefronts. Bak will also be returning to 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
Only the third violist in history to earn the Artist Diploma from 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.
A New York native, Bak is on the roster of Concert Artists Guild and is married to violist Rubina Lee. In addition to his performing schedule, he has been invited to serve as returning Viola Artist Faculty for the Classical Music Institute of San Antonio, as Guest Artist Speaker for the Children’s Orchestra Society in Long Island, and as a jury member for the Boulder Bach Festival’s 2020 World Bach Competition. Bak is on the faculty of Opportunity Music Project in New York City and served as 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 has written for The Juilliard Journal and his own blog, “let’s talk.” Bak plays a 2016 viola made by renowned luthier, Jon van Kouwenhoven.