Deak was born in Hammond, Indiana, on April 27, 1943. He was educated at
Oberlin College, the Juilliard School of Music, the University of Illinois,
and, as a Fulbright Scholar, at the Conservatorio de Santa Cecilia, in Rome.
He is currently enjoying his second year as Composer-in-Residence with
Colorado Symphony under the Meet the Composer Residencies Program, which
includes the Colorado Children's Chorale and Denver Public Schools. He is
also Associate Principal Bassist and Creative Education Associate of the New
York Philharmonic, as well as Resident Composer of the Apple Hill Chamber
Players (New Hampshire) and the Grand Teton Music Festival (Wyoming). His
training includes work in the visual arts, and he was active in the
"performance art" movement in New York's Soho district. His
compositions have been performed at music festivals worldwide and by such
institutions as the New York Philharmonic, National, Minnesota, Cincinnati,
Seattle, New Jersey, Atlanta and Colorado Symphonies, Rochester Philharmonic
and major chamber groups around the country.
Recent commissions include a string quartet concerto for the Manchester
Quartet performed by both the National and New Jersey Symphonies and a work
for the 150th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic. His Concerto for
Contrabass and Orchestra ("Jack and the Beanstalk") was nominated
for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize by the National Symphony. Jon Deak has become
particularly noted for his successes in bringing new music to young people.
His interest in children is such that he now teaches a composition class in
the public school that his own children attend in New York City. An avid
wilderness mountaineer, he has led climbing expeditions into the Canadian
Rockies, Alaska and the Himalayas. He was Chairman of the New York
Philharmonic Artistic Advisory Committee, which helped select Kurt Masur as
the Philharmonic's Music Director. He also participated in Leonard
Bernstein's historic Freiheitskonzert (freedom concert), in what was then
East Berlin on Christmas Day, 1989, an event which he regards as one of the
musical highlights of his life.