Pianist Jason Kwak has already enjoyed a successful career, both as an artist and as a pedagogue. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Kwak began his piano studies at the age of four. He has earned his degrees in Piano Performance from Eastman School of Music and The University of Texas at Austin. His principal piano teachers include David Watkins, Douglass Weeks, Barry Snyder, and Nancy Garrett. Dr. Kwak is currently a Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Coordinator at Texas State University. Previously, he has held teaching positions at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas Extension Program, and the Austin Chamber Music Center. He is consistently in high demand for performances, masterclasses, lectures, and adjudications on a state, national, and international level.
Dr. Kwak has received top prize in many piano competitions including the Atlanta Steinway Society Competition, Handok Piano Competition, Southern Keyboard Competition, Atlanta Music Club, and the Clara Wells Piano Competition. He has made numerous national and international appearances as a solo pianist including performances with the Victoria Symphony, Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra, Daegu Symphony Orchestra, The University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Wind Symphony, Amherst Symphony, The Busan Philharmonic Orchestra, The Round Rocky Symphony, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra and the Rocky Ridge Orchestra. Recent international engagements have taken Dr. Kwak all over the world, including stops in England, Turkey, Germany, Ecuador, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Norway, and South Korea.
Dr. Kwak has also given solo performances in many notable venues and festivals, including performances at Seoul Arts Center, San Antonio Convention Center, Jeju National Museum, Bundy Arts Center, Daegu Culture Center, Museu de Arte Moderna (Brazil), and Fox Theatre in Atlanta as well as solo performances in over 30 U.S. College Campuses and many International college campuses including Kei Myung University (South Korea), Adnan Menderes University, Yasar University (Turkey),University of Malay (Malaysia), Kuang Jen Catholic School, Chinese Culture University (Taiwan) and Birmingham Conservatory (England). An avid chamber musician, Dr. Kwak has collaborated with many distinguished artists including performances with Mezzo-Soprano Shin Ja Kim, violinist Vincent Fritell, and trumpeter Billy Hunter and Craig Morris. In 2008, Dr. Kwak, along with Dr. Ian Davidson and Professor Daris Hale, formed ‘Trio 488’, a chamber group comprised of applied music faculty at Texas State University. With goals to promote and commission new music, Trio 488 has already performed at the College Music Society International Conference, International Double Reed Society Conference, Bear Valley Music Festival, NACUSA International Conference, RioWinds Festival, and at the Mysterium of Modern Music Concert along with several performances in various concert series. An advocate of new music for this instrumentation, ‘Trio 488 has already commissioned and premiered several new pieces and has plans to release their first CD of new music in the very near future.
As an educator, Dr. Kwak is a dedicated teacher who has been recognized numerous times for his teachings. Most notably, in 2011, Dr. Kwak was the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching from Texas State University. In 2004, Dr. Kwak received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He has presented many lecture performances including lectures for Victoria Symphony, Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra, Corpus Christi Music Teachers Association, Kingsville Music Club, Austin District Music Teachers Association, Jeju National Museum, Texas Music Educators Association Convention and The University of Texas at Austin. Further, Dr. Kwak’s students garnered several recognitions in competitions at the regional, national and international level. Dr. Kwak was recently featured by Texas State University in their ‘Profiles in Teaching’ series. Currently, Dr. Kwak serves as the Director of the Texas State International Piano Festival, which is in its seventh year.