BACH COLLEGIUM JAPAN and MASAAKI SUZUKI, conductor
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Masaaki Suzuki, Music Director
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Bach Collegium Japan was founded in 1990 by Masaaki Suzuki, its inspirational Music Director, with the aim of introducing Japanese audiences to period instrument performances of great works from the baroque period. Comprised of both baroque orchestra and chorus, their activities include an annual concert series of Bach’s cantatas and a number of instrumental programs. The award-winning ensemble has recently begun to explore classical repertoire, releasing a recording of Mozart’s Requiem in November 2014.
They have acquired a formidable international reputation through their acclaimed recordings of the major choral works of Johann Sebastian Bach for the BIS label; 2014 saw the triumphant conclusion of their recorded cycle of the complete Church Cantatas, a huge undertaking comprising over fifty CDs initiated in 1995. This major achievement was recognized with a 2014 ECHO Klassick 'Editorial Achievement of the Year' award. Their recent recording of Bach Motets was honored with a German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2010 and also in 2011 with a BBC Music Magazine Award. BBC Music Magazine again recognized Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan, selecting their recording of Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor as Recording of the Month in January 2017. The disc follows their first recording of Mozart – the Requiem – released in 2015, and builds on Suzuki’s continuing wish to explore the tradition and line of Christian music.
Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki have shared their interpretations across the international music scene with performances in venues as far afield as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York and Seoul, and at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Zealand International Arts Festival, Ghent’s Festival of Flanders and Festival Cervantino in Mexico.
In 2010 the ensemble celebrated its 20th anniversary with a series of special concerts in Tokyo, and in 2013 they were invited to appear at New York’s Lincoln Center where Masaaki Suzuki and the choir collaborated with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to open its Bach Variations Festival. The 2013/14 season saw the ensemble debut in the Czech Republic at the Prague Spring Festival and in Mexico. A sold-out tour in Fall 2015 marked their fifth visit to North America.
This season’s highlights include a return to North America performing at Yale University, Lincoln Center, University Musical Society, San Francisco Symphony, and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County as well as performances in Europe at the Thüringer Bachwochen and Leipzig Bachfest; a tour to Gronigen, Amsterdam, and Paris; and their debut in Switzerland at the Fribourg International Music Festival.