Musician Bios | J.S. Bach: Motets and Songs of Devotion
Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained BCJ’s music director ever since, taking them regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the U.S. and building up an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement of his performances. Founder and head of the early music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts, he was also on the choral conducting faculty at the Yale School of Music from 2009 until 2013, where he remains affiliated as principal guest conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.
In addition to working with renowned period ensembles, Suzuki is invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Britten, Fauré, Mahler, and Stravinsky, with orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Montreal Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and San Francisco and Sydney symphony orchestras. Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label, featuring all of Bach’s major choral works as well as complete works for harpsichord, has brought him many critical plaudits. 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. Suzuki and BCJ were awarded a German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik), a Diapason d’Or de l’Année, and a BBC Music Magazine Award for their recording of Bach motets.The ensemble has exended their repertoire with recent discs of Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C Minor and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
Suzuki continues as an active 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.
In 2012 Suzuki was awarded the Leipzig Bach Medal and in 2013 the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In 2001 he was decorated with “Das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik” from Germany.
Hailing from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Jacqueline Nappi is an organist, harpsichordist, pianist, and teacher. In addition to studying organ performance at the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music, she is minister of music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Milford and music coordinator at Durham Academy. Previous collaborations include the North Carolina Symphony, the Duke Chapel Bach Cantata Series & Vespers Choir, the North Carolina Historically Informed Performance (HIP) Music Festival, the Mallarmé Chamber Players, the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, and Boston Early Music Festival fringe concerts. Before beginning her studies at Yale, Nappi was dean of the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists, taught continuo lessons at UNC-Chapel Hill, and served as music minister at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham. Nappi holds a master of music degree from SUNY Stony Brook and a bachelor of music from the Hartt School.
Christina “C” Han
Christina “C” Han is a Korean-American soprano, keyboardist, and researcher specializing in early Western art music and the music of living, “global” composers. Born and raised in Queens, New York, they attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. They earned a bachelor of music in vocal performance from Westminster Choir College, studying with Margaret Cusack. A chorister and a creative recitalist, Han is at Yale to actively move the classical music scene away from its white supremacist and capitalist ideologies toward a safer space for people of color and other marginalized individuals, specifically, queer, non-Christian, transgender, neurodivergent, disabled, and unhoused people.
Deborah Stephens, soprano, performs with professional choral ensemles such as Kinnara, Coro Vocati, and the Lake Junaluska Singers, and is a sought-after freelance soloist. In 2017 she founded and directed VERITAS Vocal Ensemble, a small group of students at the University of Georgia who are passionate about choral singing. VERITAS has performed on the UGA Student Spotlight Concert and at faculty student recitals, and hosted a joint-ensemble benefit concert to support music education. Stephens earned a bachelor of music degree in voice performance from the University of Georgia.
Hailing from Bellingham, Washington, mezzo-soprano Molly Mcguire is an enthusiastic performer of all styles of classical voice repertoire. As a recent resident of Boston she has performed regularly with et al., the Cantata Singers, and the Choir of King’s Chapel as both a chorus member and soloist. Outside of Boston, Mcguire has performed with the VOCES8 Foundation, Bach Akademie Charlotte, Quintessence Choral Festival in Albuquerque, and the Des Moines Choral Festival. Recent performances include a staged production of The Play of Daniel with the Boston Camerata and Handel’s Solomon with Cantata Singers.
American tenor Patrick McGill has been hailed as having a “clear, round intonation” and “a gorgeous sound” (Chronicle Journal). He has been a summer fellow at Tanglewood and Banff, and has sung at the Montreal Symphony House, Salle Bourgie and Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal, the National Arts Centre in Ottowa, Palais Montcalm in Québec, and Carnegie Hall. Although his focus has been early music, McGill’s performance career has encompassed opera, art song, oratorio, and chamber music. Past performances include Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante, Candide in Bernstein’s Candide, Normanno in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Torquemada in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and Gabriel von Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. McGill received his BM in vocal performance from the Boston Conservatory and his MM in early music performance from McGille University, where he studied with Ben Heppner and John Mac Master.
Bass-baritone Benjamin Ferriby developed an early appreciation for choral music during his boy chorister years with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in New York City, then directed by John G. Scott. As a high school senior he sang with the Yale Camerata and the Camerata Chamber Singers under the direction of Marguerite L. Brooks. Ferriby earned a bachelor of music degree at DePauw University, where he also minored in Italian language studies. A New Haven native, Ferriby hopes that his Connecticut-located family can attend some of his performances.
Tenor Matthew Newhouse recently debuted at Carnegie Hall as winner of the Semper Pro Musica competition. He was also winner of the 2019 Texoma NATS regional competition. Newhouse participated in the VOCES8 USA Scholar Programme and served as a teaching artist at the 2019 Quintessence Summer Choral Festival. He performed Bach’s Magnificat with the Baylor Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the New Mexico Philharmonic. Newhouse is inspired by Icelandic and Danish art song and strives to incorporate the repertoire into the classical music canon. Originally from Conroe, Texas, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University.
Acclaimed for having a voice “perfectly suited to Baroque music” (KCMetropolis), baritone Jared Swope sings in a multitude of genres spanning early music, contemporary choral, oratorio, opera, and more. Recent solo engagements include Bach’s cantata Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme with CORO Vocal Artists and Mass in B Minor with the JSB Ensemble, Handel’s Messiah with the Spire Chamber Ensemble, and Telemann’s Johannespassion with the JSB Ensemble. Swope has performed internationally with conductors Helmuth Rilling, Jos van Veldhoven, and Hans-Christoph Rademann. He can also be heard on recordings of Michael John Trotta’s Seven Last Words and Chorosynthesis’s Empowering Silenced Voices.
Yale Schola Cantorum
Yale Schola Cantorum is a chamber choir that performs sacred music from the sixteenth century to the present day in concert settings and choral services around the world. It is sponsored by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and conducted by David Hill; Masaaki Suzuki is principal guest conductor. Open by audition to students from all departments and professional schools across Yale University, the choir has a special interest in historically informed performance practice, often in collaboration with instrumentalists from Juilliard415.
Schola was founded in 2003 by Simon Carrington. In recent years, the choir has also sung under the direction of internationally renowned conductors Marcus Creed, Matthew Halls, Simon Halsey, Paul Hillier, Stephen Layton, Sir Neville Marriner, Nicholas McGegan, James O’Donnell, Stefan Parkman, Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmuth Rilling, and Dale Warland. In addition to performing regularly in New Haven and New York, the ensemble records and tours nationally and internationally. Most recently, Hyperion released Schola Cantorum performing a chamber version of the Brahms Requiem and recordings of the music of Roderick Williams, Tawnie Olson, and Reena Esmail. Schola’s 2018 recording on the Hyperion label featuring Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi Domine has garnered enthusiastic reviews. A live recording of Heinrich Biber’s 1693 Vesperae longiores ac breviores with Robert Mealy and Yale Collegium Musicum received international acclaim from the early music press, as have subsequent CDs of J. S. Bach’s rarely heard 1725 version of the St. John Passion and Antonio Bertali’s Missa resurrectionis. A recording on the Naxos label of Mendelssohn and Bach Magnificats was released in 2009. On tour, Schola Cantorum has given performances in England, Hungary, France, China, South Korea, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, India, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
Members of the Yale Voxtet are current students of Professor James Taylor at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale School of Music, where they are candidates for graduate degrees in voice. The select group of eight singers specializes in early music, oratorio, and chamber ensemble. In addition to performing a variety of chamber music programs each year, the group sings, tours, and records as part of Yale Schola Cantorum.