Representation: General Management
Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained their Music Director ever since, taking them regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the USA and building up an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement and truth of his performances.
In addition to working with renowned period ensembles, such as Collegium Vocale Gent and Philharmonia Baroque, he is invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Britten, Fauré, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Melbourne Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic.
This season sees his debut with North America’s Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and in Russia with the Orchestra of the Perm State Theatre of Opera and Ballet. He also conducts the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya and returns to the Bergen Philharmonic and the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He appears as Artist in Association at Casa da musica Porto’s 2014 Baroque festival with Bach Collegium Japan, as well as conducting the Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música, and in summer 2015 he performs at the Oregon Bach Festival where he will also direct the students in the new Berwick Academy.
Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label featuring all Bach’s major choral works, as well as complete works for harpsichord, has brought him many critical plaudits – the Times has written: “it would take an iron bar not to be moved by his crispness, sobriety and spiritual vigour”. 2014 marked the triumphant conclusion of Bach Collegium Japan’s epic recording of the complete Church Cantatas initiated in 1995 and comprising fifty-five volumes. This major achievement has been recognised with a 2014 ECHO Klassick ‘Editorial Achievement of the Year’ award. In 2010, Suzuki and his ensemble were awarded both a German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik) and a Diapason d’Or de l’Année for their recording of Bach motets, which was also honoured in 2011 with a BBC Music Magazine Award.
Highlights with Bach Collegium Japan this season include the ensemble’s debut in Mexico and in the Czech Republic at the Prague Spring Festival; other European appearances include the Erzgebirge Music Festival and the Flanders Festival in Ghent.
Masaaki Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as organist and harpsichordist. Born in Kobe, he graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music with a degree in composition and organ performance and went on to study harpsichord and organ at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam under Ton Koopman and Piet Kee. Founder and head of the early music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts, he was on the choral conducting faculty at the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music from 2009 until 2013, where he remains affiliated as the principal guest conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.
In 2012 Suzuki was awarded with the Leipzig Bach Medal and in 2013 the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In April 2001, he was decorated with ‘Das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik’ from Germany.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Catherine Gardiner