Bach Collegium Japan was founded in 1990 by Masaaki Suzuki, its inspirational Music Director, with the aim of introducing Japanese audiences to period instrument performances of great works from the baroque period. Comprised of both baroque orchestra and chorus, their activities include an annual concert series of Bach’s cantatas and a number of instrumental programmes. The award-winning ensemble has begun to explore classical repertoire, releasing a recording of Mozart’s Requiem in November 2014, which they followed up with their recent release of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor. The recording won the Choral category in the 2017 Gramophone Awards.
Bach Collegium Japan have acquired a formidable international reputation through their acclaimed recordings on the BIS label of the major choral works of Johann Sebastian Bach; 2014 saw the triumphant conclusion of their recorded cycle of the complete Church Cantatas, a huge undertaking initiated in 1995 and comprising over fifty CDs. This major achievement has been recognised with a 2014 ECHO Klassick ‘Editorial Achievement of the Year’ award. Their recent recording of Bach Motets was honoured with a German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2010 and also in 2011 with a BBC Music Magazine Award.
Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki have shared their interpretations across the international music scene with performances in venues as far afield as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York and Seoul, and at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Zealand International Arts Festival, Ghent’s Festival of Flanders and Festival Cervantino in Mexico.
In 2010 the ensemble celebrated their 20th anniversary with a series of special concerts in Tokyo, and in 2013 they were invited to appear at New York’s Lincoln Center where Masaaki Suzuki and the choir collaborated with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to open its Bach Variations Festival. Last season saw Bach Collegium Japan take a tour of North American cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, as well as a major European tour including a weekend residency at the Barbican Centre in London, reinvitations to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, and debut appearances at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
This season’s highlights include appearances at the Leipzig Bachfest, Thüringer Bachwochen, Fribourg International Festival of Sacred Music and Gewandhaus Leipzig, as well as reinvitations to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris.