Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of J.S. Bach, combining his conducting career with work as an 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 addition to working with renowned period ensembles, such as Collegium Vocale Gent and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Mr. Suzuki is regularly invited to conduct repertory as diverse as Britten, Beethoven, Fauré, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the New York Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. This season he makes his debuts with the Danish National Radio Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Highlights with Bach Collegium Japan this season include a visit to North America as well as a European tour, 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.
Mr. Suzuki’s discography on the BIS label features all J.S. Bach’s major choral works and complete works for harpsichord. 2014 marked the conclusion of Bach Collegium Japan's recording of Bach’s complete church cantatas, a project initiated in 1995 that comprises fifty-five volumes. This project was recognized with a 2014 ECHO Klassik Editorial Achievement of the Year award. In 2010, Mr. 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. The ensemble recently released a recording of Mozart’s Requiem.
Founder and head of the early music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts, Mr. Suzuki was on the choral conducting faculty at the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music from 2009 until 2013; he currently serves as Principal Guest Conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum. In 2012 he was awarded with the Leipzig Bach Medal and in 2013, the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In April 2001, he was decorated with the Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.