[Award] Jason is in 2018 '40 Under 40' Winners in University of Auckland.

2018 "‘40 Under 40’ Winners of University of Auckland.

Jason Bae

Concert pianist, Steinway artist - Steinway & Sons.


Being given three days’ notice you’re about to move to a new country would be a daunting prospect for most people. When you’re just ten years old and you don’t even speak the language of the country you’re moving to the prospect is all the more terrifying.

However, for Jason Bae the move from Daejeon, South Korea to Auckland in 2002 would not only change his life but set him on course to showcase and develop his musical talents in a way he was yet to fully appreciate.

Enrolling in Whangaparaoa School as a fee paying international student, his mother would soon  discover to her horror she had been the victim of a fraudulent scam involving the money that had been paid to the immigration agent for Jason’s fees which hadn’t been passed on to the school.

Following a tense meeting with the school’s principal, which included demonstrating the accomplished young pianist’s considerable talent, quickly secured him a place at the school allowing him to make his concert debut with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra three years later at the age of just 12.

“To this day I say my mother sold my talent, but I have no regrets. Music was a part of me so I had no choice but to progress.”

But it wasn’t easy being one of the only Asian students at the school who couldn’t communicate with anyone and feeling very much in the minority. Jason remembers for the first three months he said absolutely nothing.

“I was effectively living as a mute. I couldn’t understand what was being said to me and I couldn’t communicate with other students so I didn’t say anything. However, I excelled in maths which of course didn’t require English. But over time I started to learn a few words and bit by bit my language skills gradually improved. I would’ve liked to have had tutoring but my mum couldn’t afford it so I just had to learn things for myself.”

However, starting at Westlake Boys High was to change everything when it came to English as well as allowing his obvious musical talents to be fully embraced at his new school. “I had a great English teacher at Westlake, Alex Reed, and I have to thank him for developing my proficiency in English which allowed me to gain direct entry to university at the end of Year 12, ironically because of my marks in English rather than maths.”

Invited to attend the prestigious Aspen Musical Festival in the United States for two months each year, while a student at Westlake, required extra work to catch up when he got back. “I learnt to work hard, however it was good preparation for my time at university.”

Completing his Bachelor of Music in piano performance with First Class Honours in 2013 and subsequently completing his Master of Arts in piano performance with the highest distinction award, ‘DipRAM’ at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2015, his success was all the more notable given his academic performance in his first year of his Masters.

“Despite all my performance experience and the preparation I’d done in my undergraduate degree, when I got to London I realised the other students were at a much higher standard as a result of attending specialist music schools from an early age. So despite working extremely hard I managed to get the lowest mark in the whole school in my first year, but I was rewarded for all my work with the 2nd highest mark and the highest distinction award “DipRAM” in my final year.”

Jason has high expectations for his future career, including a goal to become the first South Korean born kiwi to be the next music director of the NZ Symphony Orchestra. But he is humbled by the many people who have supported him on his journey to this point.

“I’m particularly grateful to Prof. Rae de Lisle at the School of Music who accepted me as her private pupil. Also Dr Allan Badley who taught me an ultimate musical history with music theory which I use to this very day, Dr Leonie Holmes who developed by aural training which I’m so grateful to have as an aspiring conductor as well as Dr Karen Grylls who has helped me to develop my singing and choral conducting which is essential to many musicians.”

And the principal of Whangaparaoa School will also be pleased at his decision to offer a place to the shy young boy from South Korea who couldn’t speak a word of English when they first met.

Jason performs at the Grand Opening Night of "Oceania" Exhibition in Royal Academy of Arts, London attended by the HRH Duchess of Sussex, Meghan.

Royal Academy of Arts


29 September - 10 December 2018

Marking 250 years since Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific, we celebrate the dazzling and diverse art of the region of Oceania, from the historic to the contemporary.

The year is 1768, and Britain is in the throes of the Age of Enlightenment. As a group of artists agrees to found the Royal Academy, Captain James Cook sets sail on a voyage of discovery to track the transit of Venus and search for terra australis incognita – the unknown southern continent, as Europeans called it. What Cook and his crew encounter on arrival is a vast number of island civilisations covering almost a third of the world’s surface: from Tahiti in Polynesia, to the scattered archipelagos and islands of Melanesia and Micronesia.

The indigenous populations they met came with their own histories of inter-island trade, ocean navigation, and social and artistic traditions. This spectacular exhibition reveals these narratives – celebrating the original, raw and powerful art that in time would resonate across the European artistic sphere.

Oceania brings together around 200 exceptional works from public collections worldwide, and spans over 500 years. From shell, greenstone and ceramic ornaments, to huge canoes and stunning god images, we explore important themes of voyaging, place making and encounter. The exhibition draws from rich historic ethnographic collections dating from the 18th century to the present, and includes seminal works produced by contemporary artists exploring history, identity and climate change.

Oceania has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London and Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, with the participation of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge.

The Grand Opening of “Oceania” took place on 25th September 2018 and it was attended by HRH Duchess of Sussex, Meghan and New Zealand Steinway Artist Jason Bae performed on Michael Parekowhai’s “He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of New Zealand River” (2011) - Steinway Model D on this very special occasion.

[NEWS] Jason Bae - Piano - Central Otago, New Zealand.

Jason Bae - Piano

17 April 2018


Bannockburn, Central Otago

New Zealand's first "Young Steinway Artist ' and now Steinway Artist, Jason Bae returns for an afternoon concert with works by Debussy, Grieg, Medtner and the NZ premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's "Dichotomie".

Five years ago Jason  wowed us with a solo piano performance  that received a standing ovation before setting off for the Royal Academy of Music in London where he received his Master of Arts in piano performance with the highest distinction award, 'DipRAM'. 

When Jason asked us if we would we be interested in being part of a very short tour he was returning to make we had no hesitation in saying yes please. In this brief tour Jason is playing in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Cromwell and at "The Hills" in Queenstown.  We are indeed fortunate to be located between Christchurch and Queenstown and as a fan of Central Otago wines Jason loves coming here, albeit given his many commitments overseas, only infrequently.

When : Tuesday 17 April 2018, 2.00pm.
Where : Coronation Hall, 37 Hall Road, Bannockburn.
Duration : 60 minutes (no interval)

Tickets : Adults $20; Student/Child $5 [Ticket includes afternoon tea and the opportunity to meet Jason, not only a truly remarkable musician but a pleasant, engaging young man, following the completion of the concert]. Tickets are available now from the Cromwell and all other Central Otago District iSites. Door sales will be available if not all tickets are pre-sold.

[NEWS] Self-playing piano brings top pianists to NZ - for a price - NZ Herald

Jason Bae with a Steinway Spirio Piano which uses an iPad app to play like no piano you've ever heard - or seen - before. Photo / Doug Sherring

Jason Bae with a Steinway Spirio Piano which uses an iPad app to play like no piano you've ever heard - or seen - before. Photo / Doug Sherring

By: Dionne Christian
Arts & Books Editor, NZ Herald

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary Steinway piano — if you can use the word ordinary to describe a hand-crafted instrument, with some 12,000 individual parts, produced by a company with 160 years of heritage behind it.

Oh, and a starting price tag of $225,000.

But the Steinway Spirio has a surprising — possibly spooky — feature which could shock those who have previously seen pianos where the keys move by themselves and the music booms only at the movies.

It's the world's first self-playing piano and now it's launching in New Zealand. The Spirio
comes loaded with pre-recorded performances, played by some of the world's finest musicians.

Keys move with the music and the sound is so rich it's impossible to differentiate the system from the pianist's original playing and is guaranteed to raise the pulse rates and send a shiver down the spine of piano music fans everywhere.

Piano specialist John Eady, from Auckland music store Lewis Eady, says it works by using an iPad app (an iPad is included in the price) which is programmed with classical, jazz and popular music recordings.

Select which track you want — and there are performances from more than 1700 Steinway artists — sit back and enjoy. Eady says the blending of art and technology is the most significant development in 70 years and, despite the price tag, there is good interest in the Spirio.

He's already sold three — a smaller model is $225,000; the larger $275,000 — including two to a rich-lister who wishes to remain anonymous. He bought one for his Auckland home and another for a property in Hawke's Bay.

Eady says no matter what audio system you have at home, you'll never be able to get the same sound quality using speakers and acoustics as you get from the piano itself.

"You could spend more on a sound system than one of these pianos and still not get the same quality."

Best of all, when you want to tickle the ivories, it becomes a "regular" Steinway.

"It's actually creating more work for pianists," says Eady, "because some are buying a Spirio, listening to a performance and then deciding to invite the pianist to play for them and their friends."

Multi award-winning New Zealand pianist Jason Bae, based in South Korea, is one of those who have recorded performances for the Spirio system including Rachmaninov's Moment Musicaux No.4 Op.16 at the Steinway Piano Gallery in New York.

Bae admits when he first heard about it, he was sceptical but has become a devotee.

He now describes it as a joy to play, saying no machine-manufactured instrument produces the same sound as one that's handmade.

He's looking forward to the next innovation - a piano where the pianist can record themselves and play it back.

A pianist from a young age, Bae was the youngest concerto soloist when, aged 13, he performed with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for the SkyCity Starlight Symphony Concert in the Park; at 20, he became the first NZ Young Steinway Artist and a fully-fledged Steinway Artist in 2016.

He's returned home to play — and not play — at the Steinway Spirio launch in Auckland before a New Zealand tour which will take him to Wellington, Christchurch, Cromwell and The Hills in Queenstown.

No, the Spirio isn't going with him but he'll perform on other Steinway pianos before returning to Auckland later this month for a performance at Lewis Eady Music.

[INTERVIEW] Brilliant young pianist Jason Bae returns - Radio New Zealand Concert

From Upbeat, 1:40 pm on 20 March 2018

New Zealand’s only Steinway artist Jason Bae returns from his studies at the Royal Academy to give a recital tour of the country. Jason was the youngest ever concerto soloist with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra at the Starlight Symphony in the Park. The brilliant young pianist has finished his Master of Music at London's Royal Academy and is noted as one to watch.

[NEWS] Jason records for the new Steinway 'Spirio' Piano in NYC.

New Zealand pianist, Jason Bae has been chosen to record for the new Steinway 'Spirio' Piano in Steinway Piano Gallery, New York City.

The 'Spirio' will be having its big launch in New Zealand next April 2018 at Lewis Eady Showroom in Auckland. 

Jason has recorded three tracks; Puccini/Mikhashoff - Portrait on 'Madame Butterfly', Britten/Stevenson - Peter Grimes Fantasy and Rachmaninov Moment Musicaux No.4 Op.16. 

Jason with two technicians; Lauren and Melody

Jason with two technicians; Lauren and Melody

Jason and producer, Jon Feidner.

Jason and producer, Jon Feidner.