Cor Bakker (1961) started playing piano at age 11. As a child he was inspired by Louis van Dijk, who was then already a famous pianist. Eventually it was Louis van Dijk who encouraged Cor to further develop his musical talent at the conservatory. In 1984 Cor Bakker graduated cum laude from Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam with a degree in piano and jazz. He then continued his studies in Los Angeles with the American pianist, composer and arranger Clare Fischer (1928). Today this former teacher remains Cor's greatest musical inspiration. And still today they have a very special musical connection/bond between the two of them?
After graduating Cor Bakker was soon working with nearly all the big names in Dutch show business and had built up a name as a superior accompanist. In 1987 Cor received the Scheveningen Accompanist's Prize for his work as an accompanist. At the same time he was also successful in establishing himself as a soloist. He has released several solo CDs, does regular theater tours under his own name and has received several prestigious awards for his piano playing, including the Golden Harp, the Golden Nutcracker and the Kiwanis Jazz Award.
From 1986 to 1996 Cor was involved in several radio programs including “Coulissen”. In this show he accompanied a different guest artist every week. This led to him getting his own radio show “Music Minded “. Here Cor welcomed a variety of (inter)national artists, interviewed them and then made music with them. With this same concept Cor later made the jump to television under the name “Cor & Co.” (1996 to 2001). On this program Cor's guests included artists like Al Jarreau, Lionel Richie, Michel Legrand, Michel Petrucciani and UB40. Making this show was a boyhood dream come true: he could invite the artists whom he had always admired, interview them and then accompany them on piano with his own 28 piece orchestra. In the period 1989 to 2000 Cor was a regular member of the Metropole Orchestra.
National celebrity awaited Cor from the moment he started appearing weekly on television. In 1990 theater star Paul de Leeuw hosted his first television show: ‘de Schreeuw van de Leeuw’. Paul asked Cor to be his accompanist and musical director on this program. To date Cor still provides the musical accompaniment for Paul de Leeuw's successful new television program '‘Mooi! Weer de Leeuw'. In this show Cor accompanies every week a lot of celebraties for example Michael Bublé, Adele, Robbie Williams and many more.
In 1996 Cor Bakker won the Golden Harp. This prize is considered one of the most important prizes in Dutch music. A year later, in 1997, Cor won ‘de Gouden Notekraker’, another major music prize.
In 1996 yet another dream came true for Cor: he got to play together on tour with the pianist he had adored as a child: Louis van Dijk. The concert tour "Sultans of Swing" was so successful that it was extended, and to this day Cor and Louis van Dijk continue to have a great time working together. From that period until today Cor has accompanied a wide variety of artists. He has worked with, among others, Madeline Bell, the legendary British singer Shirley Bassey and the American Oleta Adams. Cor also has been involved in dozens of theater productions, including a tribute to Cole Porter, and a number of projects with The Rosenberg Trio, chansonnier Philippe Elan and Karin Bloemen.
In 2001 Cor starred in another television show “Cor op Reis” (“Cor on the Road “). In this program Cor goes on a musical tour of the world. Along the way he discovers the roots of fado, salsa, jazz and the blues. He meets Al Jarreau in Los Angeles, Zucchero in Italy, Toots Thielemans in Belgium and Lionel Richie in Miami.
In 2007 Cor Bakker won the "Kiwanis Jazz Award". This prize is awarded annually at the Goois Jazz Festival to a jazz artist who has done something of merit for jazz music. This honor has had quite an influence on Cor, because it stimulated him to give even more time and attention to his jazz-playing, something he had long been planning to do.
2009 was the year that Cor celebrates 25 years in the business. His career is characterized by diversity: there are few musicians as versatile as Cor Bakker. His original studies at the conservatory were in jazz and now Cor seems to be embracing this 'old flame' more and more. Cor had long dreamed of recording an album with only his own compositions. Moreover, he wanted to do it in, for him, the ideal circumstances. He was very curious if that would make an audible difference in the music! In 2008 the time was ripe: with a group of top musicians, including Jesse van Ruller, he travelled to an idyllic spot in Italy where he rented a recording studio. There is sunshine every day, there is a pool, and there is fine wine and delicious Italian cuisine. For days on end the musicians work in the studio on an album full of original compositions. The hard work is, however, alternated with moments of total relaxation, and that is just what gives this CD its special inspired sound. The CD is called "Elettra", named for the two stones that will give a spark when they hit each other.
This CD is released in 2010. The album's 12 tracks show a clear jazz influence: "Elettra" is a refreshing instrumental CD with a kaleidoscope of different moods. From slow ballads to mature latin-ish tunes. The perfect balance between intellect and emotion which Cor so loves in music and which is now so in evidence on his new CD "Elettra". During his career Cor Bakker has released five albums under his own name and has appeared on countless CD and DVD productions of other artists.