Skip to page content

Masaaki Suzuki


About this Artist

Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained its Music Director ever since, taking the ensemble regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the USA and building 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 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Melbourne Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. His debuts this season 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 vigor.” 2014 marked the triumphant conclusion of Bach Collegium Japan’s epic recording of the complete Church Cantatas, initiated in 1995 and comprising 55 volumes. This major achievement was recognized 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 honored in 2011 with a BBC Music Magazine Award.

Highlights with Bach Collegium Japan this season include a tour of North America to perform in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, 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 2009-2013, where he remains affiliated as the principal conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.

In 2012 Suzuki was awarded 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. Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan received the prestigious 45th Suntory Music Prize in 2014.

Maestro Suzuki is represented by Hazard Chase (