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 the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Philharmonia Baroque, Mr. Suzuki is regularly invited to conduct repertory as diverse as Britten, Fauré, Mendelssohn, and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, Danish National Radio Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the New York Philharmonic. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in February 2016. This season sees Mr. Suzuki make return visits to the Bergen Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, and the Sydney Symphony. Highlights with Bach Collegium Japan this season include their debut appearance in Switzerland at the Fribourg International Festival of Sacred Music, return visits to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Bachfest Leipzig, and Théâtre de Champs-Elysées in Paris, and a tour of the US.
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. The ensemble has extended their repertory with recent discs of Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor and a future release of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
Founder and Professor Emeritus 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 2001, he was decorated with the Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.