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. The ensemble has now embarked upon extending their repertoire with recent discs of Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor and a future release of 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.