Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
My dear teacher and mentor, Dr. Rae de Lisle, senior lecturer at School of Music, University of Auckland, who has taught me for 12 years. Maestro Chung Myung-Hoon who was the first South Korean pianist who became the Silver Medalist (no Gold-Medalist awarded) at 1974 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, who is now an internationally sought-after conductor.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
My mentor, Dr. Rae de Lisle who has taught me since I was 9 years old until I graduated from University of Auckland with First Class Honours. She has seen me grow up and has guided me to where I am right now.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
I grew up in New Zealand until I came to London last year. London life is completely different to New Zealand life where its population is only 4 million people. Studying at the Royal Academy of Music and living in London, the metropolitan city has been very challenging since I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have anyone who supported me. I had to completely depend on myself and this was great challenge.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
2009 my performance of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 when I was 17 years old. 2012 My debut recital at Auckland Town Hall, Chopin Preludes Complete, Bach/Busoni Chaconne. Recent performances of 2013 New Zealand Wallace Piano National Piano Competition of my Liszt Piano Sonata, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit, Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No.2 and 2014 New Zealand Wallace Piano Festival my complete recital programme of J.S. Bach Partita No.6, Rachmaninov Moments Musicaux complete.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No.2 Op.36 (Original version), Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninov Moments Musicaux Op.16 complete.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
First of all, I have to know which venue I would be playing in and also what kind of audience, and this depends on the country, suburbs (whether it is a small town or big city). In small towns, I have to play relatively well-known works or well-known composers. In the big cities, I can introduce more contemporary works and new composers.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Auckland Town Hall Great Hall and Concert Chamber. Auckland is where I grew up and I went to almost every single concert in this venue where I received inspiration and motivation.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 Op.16. I have worked so hard to prepare this work and performed it so well. Now, I like listening to Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 which I am currently working on.
Who are your favourite musicians?
Stephen Hough, Leif Ove Andsnes, Arcadi Volodos, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Maxim Vengerov, Vasily Petrenko and Vladmir Ashkenazy.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
2012 Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber Debut – Sold out. 2009 Lev Vlassenko International Piano Competition 2nd Prize – Brisbane, Australia. 2013 Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 with Auckland Philharmonia – Auckland Town Hall Great Hall, New Zealand.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Always have to remember that I am making music in order to solely share with audience. It’s never about showing off my talent but inspiring audience making them to appreciate the beauty of the classical music. Always aiming at making audience to feel that their couple of hours of listening to my performance was life-changing experience.
What are you working on at the moment?
Chopin 4 Ballades, Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Becoming an artist in residence for Wigmore Hall, London, Seoul Arts Centre, South Korea. Regular concerto soloist with Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Continuing to enjoy making music even though it is difficult journey and lonely life in order to share the music with many people around the world (not just in major concert halls, big cities but small rural towns as well). I would like to have a good family who can continuously support me to achieve my vision of sharing classical music to as many people as possible.
What is your most treasured possession?
My experiences of travelling to many countries for my performances.
What do you enjoy doing most?
Meeting with my best friends for a good catch-up and conversation.
What is your present state of mind?
I am looking forward to preparing new works for 2015.
Jason Bae was born in Daejeon, South Korea in 1991 where he began studying piano at the age of five. At age 12, he has made his concerto debut with Auckland Symphony Orchestra performing Grieg Piano Concerto Op. 16. A year later, he became the youngest concerto soloist to perform with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for the ‘SkyCity Starlight Symphony Concert in the Park’ at the Auckland Domain in front of 200,000 people. Under the baton of Rossen Milanov, Jason performed Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds as a soloist with New Zealand National Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2010. He has also appeared as a concerto soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra of Australia, Auckland Youth Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Bach Musica.
Jason’s full biography is on his website