Jonathan Pak, a 17-year-old junior at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, began playing the piano at age six with Dr. Baruch Meir and switched to cello at age 10 under the guidance of Jan Simiz, a member of the Phoenix Symphony. He has served as principal cellist in Arizona All-State Orchestra 2018 and North Central Regional Orchestra 2017-2018, and he is currently principal cellist of the Phoenix Youth Symphony and Desert Vista Chamber Orchestra.
Formerly, he played in the Arizona Sunshine Ensemble, which won the American Protege International Competition and Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition 2017. In addition to these achievements, Jonathan has also won several solo competitions, including 1st place in the PYS Young Musicians Competition 2016, 1st place in the Musicfest Young Musicians Solo Competition 2016, 2nd place in the Musicfest Young Musicians Solo Competition 2017, and 3rd place overall in the PYS Young Musicians Competition 2018. With the scholarship from PYS, Jonathan attended the Philadelphia International Music Festival. Through PIMF, Red Rocks Music Festival, and Arizona Musicfest, he has been lucky to work with renowned artists such as David Heiss, John Koen, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and Giancarlo Guerrero. Recently, Jonathan was selected to perform in a masterclass taught by Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Since 2017, Jonathan has been a volunteer teacher at Harmony Project-Phoenix, which provides free music education to underprivileged students in Phoenix. His favorite composers are Mahler, Shostakovich, Schubert, and Beethoven; his favorite works by these composers are Mahler Symphonies 1 and 2, Shostakovich Cello Concerto 1 and Symphony 5, Schubert Symphony 9, and Beethoven Emperor Piano Concerto 5.
In addition to music, he is a volunteer in the Desert Vista Peer Tutoring Organization and has qualified for National History Bee and Bowl. In 2017, he was a Speech and Debate National Qualifiers Finalist. Jonathan has an all-consuming obsession with Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. In his free time, he likes to cook, watch movies, and listen to Mahler Symphonies on repeat.