Masaaki Suzuki

April 29, 1954 - Kobe (Japan)


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.

He is now regularly invited to work together with renowned European soloists and groups, such as Collegium Vocale Gent and the Freiburger Barockorchester with whom he visited several European capitals, and he recently appeared in London with the Britten Sinfonia in a programme of Britten, Mozart and Stravinsky. Forthcoming engagements with other ensembles include the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Nagoya Philharmonic and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestras.

Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label, featuring Bach’s complete works for harpsichord, and his interpretations of Bach’s major choral works and sacred cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan (in September, he carried out recording the complete Bach cantatas) have 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”.

Highlights of his current season with Bach Collegium Japan include a major tour of Europe and a visit to the Canaries Festival as well as performances in Tokyo of Handel’s Judas Maccabeus and Messiah, choral works by Mendelssohn and concert performances of Monteverdi’s Poppea. He will also conduct the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and embark on a US organ recital tour.

Masaaki Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as organist and harpsichordist. Born in Kobe, he graduated from 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, he teaches at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

In April 2001 Suzuki was decorated with ‘Das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik’ from Germany.