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, Barry Snyder, and Nancy Garrett. Dr. Kwak is currently a Regents’ and University Distinguished Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Coordinator at Texas State University. Previously, he has held teaching positions at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the University of Texas at Austin. 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, The Busan Philharmonic Orchestra, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra, Rocky Ridge Orchestra, Central Texas Philharmonic, Amherst Symphony Orchestra and the Round Rock Symphony. Recent international engagements have taken Dr. Kwak all over the world, including stops in England, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, Norway, Colombia, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Ecuador, 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 50 U.S. and International College campuses. An avid chamber musician, Dr. Kwak has collaborated with many internationally renowned artists. 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. Trio488 currently has four commercial recordings available.
As an educator, Dr. Kwak is a dedicated teacher who has been recognized numerous times for his teachings. Most notably, in 2021, Dr. Kwak was inducted into Steinway and Sons Teaching Hall of Fame. Moreover, 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 with several former students serving as faculty members at colleges throughout the world. Currently, Dr. Kwak serves as the Director of the Texas State International Piano Festival, which is in its fourteenth year.