Bach Collegium Japan was founded in 1990 by Masaaki Suzuki its inspirational Music Director, with the aim of introducing Japanese audiences to historically informed performances of great works from the baroque period. Comprised of both period instrument orchestra and chorus, their activities include an annual concert series of Bach’s cantatas and a number of instrumental programmes. The award-winning ensemble is now exploring classical repertoire, having released a recording of the Mozart Requiem in November 2014 and subsequent discs of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, which won the Choral category in the 2017 Gramophone Awards, Beethoven Missa Solemnis and Beethoven Symphony No. 9.
Bach Collegium Japan has established 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 was recognised with a 2014 ECHO Klassick ‘Editorial Achievement of the Year’ award. Their 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. They have also recently released a box set of the Secular Cantatas, a first disc of Harpsichord Concerti under the leadership of Masato Suzuki, the group’s Principal Conductor, and a new recording of the St Matthew Passion which received a Gramophone Award in 2020.
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, Edinburgh International Festival, Flanders Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Bachfest Leipzig and New Zealand International Arts Festival.
In 2020 the ensemble marked its 30th anniversary with a European tour in addition to their regular series of concerts at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and Tokyo Opera City.