Jordan Bak

Jordan Bak

North Carolina School of the Arts

Award-winning Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak has achieved international acclaim as a trailblazing artist, praised for his radiant stage presence, dynamic interpretations, and fearless power. Critics have described him as “an exciting new voice in Classical performance” (I Care If You Listen), “a powerhouse musician, with a strong voice and compelling sound” (The Whole Note) and lauded his “haunting lyrical grace” (Gramophone). The 2021 YCAT Robey Artist and a top laureate of the 2020 Sphinx Competition, Bak is also a Grand Prize 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. Other recent accolades include being named one of ClassicFM's "30 Under 30" Rising Stars, Musical America’s New Artist of the Month and being a featured artist for WQXR’s inaugural Artist Propulsion Lab.

Bak’s enthusiastically-received debut album IMPULSE (Bright Shiny Things) was released in May 2022, garnering over one million streams on major digital media platforms and featuring new compositions by Tyson Gholston Davis, Toshio Hosokawa, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Quinn Mason, Jeffrey Mumford, and Joan Tower. A proud new music advocate, Bak gave the world premieres of Kaija Saariaho’s Du gick, flög for viola and mezzo-soprano, Jessica Meyer’s Excessive Use of Force for solo viola and On fire…no, after you for viola, mezzo-soprano and piano, and Augusta Read Thomas’ Upon Wings of Words for string quartet and soprano. He has additionally championed works by H. Leslie Adams, Esteban Zapata Blanco, Carlos Carillo, Caroline Shaw, and Alvin Singleton.

Bak has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as Sarasota Orchestra, London Mozart Players, New York Classical Players, Juilliard Orchestra and Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra among others, and has performed under such esteemed conductors as Howard Griffiths, Stephen Mulligan, Keith Lockhart, Gerard Schwarz, and Ewa Strusińska. As a recitalist and chamber musician, he has been heard at some of the world’s greatest performance venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Jordan Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Princeton University Concerts, Perelman Theater at The Kimmel Center, Elgar Concert Hall, and Helsinki Musiikkitalo. Bak’s recent performances include recitals at Kravis Center, Wiltshire Music Centre, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harriman-Jewell Series, Lichfield Festival, and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.

Bak has been a presence at numerous chamber music festivals such as Marlboro Music Festival, Tippet Rise, Chamber Music Northwest, Roman River Festival, and Newport Classical, and has appeared during the year at Chamber Music Detroit, Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, and Chamber Music Society of Little Rock. Recent and upcoming highlights include NEXUS Chamber Music, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, and Emory University, as well as an upcoming tour with Musicians from Marlboro. Bak has performed as a guest with the Verona Quartet and Merz Trio and has collaborated with such artists as Jonathan Biss, Lara Downes, Jennifer Frautschi, Ani Kavafian, Soovin Kim, Charles Neidich, Marina Piccinini, and Gilles Vonsattel.

Passionate about education, Bak currently serves as Assistant Professor of Viola at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). He was a former faculty member of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and served as a visiting artist and Ambassador for Music Masters in London. Additionally, he has given masterclasses at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (UK), Conservatorio del Tolima (Colombia), and the Brevard Music Center.

Only the third violist to earn the Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, Jordan Bak holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School where he was awarded the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. His principal teachers were Dimitri Murrath, Hsin-Yun Huang, and Samuel Rhodes.

Jordan Bak plays a 2016 viola made by Jon van Kouwenhoven. He is married to violist Rubina Bak and shares two cats, Bartok and Walton. An avid car buff, he drives a very loud Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T.