Founder and Artistic Director: Bach Collegium Japan
Representation: General Management
Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach and his impressive discography on the BIS label includes all Bach’s major choral works and complete cycle of cantatas. He also conducts repertoire as diverse as Britten and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
As well as being an active organist and harpsichordist, he also holds positions at the Tokyo University of the Arts, Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
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, Beethoven, Fauré, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the New York Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic. This season debuts include the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony.
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. The ensemble has now embarked upon extending their repertoire with a recent release of Mozart’s Requiem.
Highlights with Bach Collegium Japan this season include a visit to North America performing in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, as well as a European tour including a weekend residency at the Barbican Centre, London, return visits to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, and debut appearances at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Last season saw the ensemble debut in Mexico and in the Czech Republic at the Prague Spring Festival.
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.