Jacqueline Bobak is a singer and educator committed to creating, interpreting, and teaching adventurous music made with and for the voice. She has performed extensively throughout the US and Europe, conducted research in experimental music and art, collaborated with numerous composers, and taught since 1991 at the California Institute of the Arts.
Ms. Bobak’s performance repertoire encompasses solos, operas, and chamber music, from the traditional to the avant-garde. Most of her work focuses on new and emerging pieces, including many composed especially for her. For over two decades she has been an active and critically acclaimed performer in the Los Angeles area, where she has appeared on the LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella series, Monday Evening Concerts at the LA County Museum of Art, at REDCAT, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Getty Center, MicroFest, and Downtown Opera of Long Beach. Most recently she premiered a new staging of her own musical/theatrical work Dada Divas at the Dada World Fair in San Francisco and the XIII Festival Internacional Música Nueva in Monterrey, Mexico. In Europe she has appeared on the Audio Art Festival in Kraków; the Academy of Musical Arts and The Roxy in Prague; the Moravian Autumn Festival, Musica Nova Exposition, and New Music + series in Brno (Czech Republic); the York Spring Music Festival (UK); and at Spīķeri and Wagner Halls in Rīga. She has appeared as a soloist or ensemble member with the Penderecki Quartet, California EAR Unit, Electric Phoenix, Xtet, and CalArts New Century Players; in numerous duo concerts with Czech percussionist Dan Dlouhý; and has premiered works by Wadada Leo Smith, Chinary Ung, Frederic Rzewski, William Brooks, Ivo Medek, Mark Bobak, and many others.
Ms. Bobak is considered one of the leading teachers of contemporary vocal repertoire, techniques and performance in the United States. In over two decades at the California Institute of the Arts she has trained many singers, several of whom have embarked on significant careers in contemporary music and academia. She has given master classes and presented lectures on contemporary vocalism and music at the Lake Placid Seminars, the Janáček Academy of Music (Brno, Czech Republic), the University of York (UK), the International Young Musicians’ Master Classes in Latvia, and at several other European conservatories and universities as well as schools throughout the US. She taught for several summers for the California State Summer School of the Arts (1992–2006) and served on the faculty of the Lake Placid Seminars (2003). She has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Columbus College of Art and Design (2009), and held a Lorado Taft Visiting Artist residency at the University of Illinois (1998). Having reanimated CalArts’ Voice Program in the early 1990s, she currently serves as Co-Coordinator of the new and unique VoiceArts Program at CalArts—a uniquely flexible program dedicated to the creation of art made with and for the voice.
Since Ms. Bobak wrote her doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (“Radical Evolution: The Influence of Futurism and Dada on the Non-linear Operas of Philip Glass and John Cage”), she has been involved with Cage’s work, the artistic movements of Dada and Futurism, and in combining the creative process with research. Her current project, Dada Divas, is centered on important female artists who were among the originators of Dada. This large-scale work—composed as well as conceived by Ms. Bobak—combines elements of cabaret, variety show, opera, performance art, theater, lecture, and experimental music in an odyssey through artists’ lives, creative works, and ideas about modernity and the future. It draws upon art history, literary modernism, gender studies, socio-political history, and early 20th-century performance practice, illuminating historical and artistic contributions by women who until recently were overshadowed by their male counterparts. Ms. Bobak has also taught a course on this subject. Her other major performing, research, and teaching has focused on John Cage’s vocal and theatrical works, especially his remarkable Song Books. Ms. Bobak has taught courses on Song Books, conducted workshops and master classes on the work, and facilitated countless renditions of it ranging in length from less than 1 minute to 4 hours. She is among the artists who developed Vir2Ual Cage, an expansive multi-media interpretation of Song Books that recasts the piece using modern technology.
For over a decade (2003–2014), Ms. Bobak held several major administrative positions at CalArts, notably Interim Assistant Provost and Associate Dean for Academic and Special Projects in the School of Music. She also played a principal role in CalArts’ various accreditation processes, and was an invited presenter several times at conferences of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Ms. Bobak led the task group that created CalArts’ first doctoral program, the groundbreaking Performer-Composer DMA; developed and coordinated the School of Music’s Interim program; and forged international initiatives and exchange programs. In 2014 she retreated from administrative work to the voice faculty in order to devote her full attention to the new VoiceArts program as well as to her own creative pursuits.