Bach Collegium Japan announces the lineup for the 2024-2025 season!

The Bach Collegium Japan is pleased to announce the lineup for the 2024-2025 season!

In addition to the six subscription concerts, the 2024-2025 season will mark the 300th anniversary of Bach’s choral cantatas with the “The 300th Anniversary Project of Choral Cantatas”.

New members will be accepted from November 3 (Fri).

Details will be announced at a later date.

◆About The 300th Anniversary Project of Choral Cantatas

 Bach moved to Leipzig in 1723, and from May of the following year, 1724, to the end of March of the following year, he composed exactly 40 special cantatas called “choral cantata”. Choral are hymns sung by the congregation in chorus, and although church cantatas are more or less related to choral, the cantatas of this year are called by this name because they had a special structure.
 In fact, 40 choral cantatas were written in 1724 because that year fell exactly 200 years after 1524, when the religious reformer Martin Luther, in collaboration with many musicians, published several hymnals for the congregation to sing, It was recognized as the “year of the establishment of hymns. So this must have been a celebration of the bicentennial of the establishment of the hymnal. Now, 300 years later, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s hymnody and the 300th anniversary of Bach’s choral cantatas, we, the Bach Collegium Japan, would like to perform 40 choral cantatas during the two years from 2024 to 2025.

──Music Director Masaaki Suzuki

◆About the subscription concerts

 Each year, the BCJ’s new season begins with Good Friday and Holy Saturday of the 2024-25 season, the last week of March, and will be conducted by Principal Conductor Masato Suzuki, who performed the “Matthew Passion” to great acclaim in the Netherlands in 2023. In addition, Benjamin Bruns, who served as Evangelist for the 2019 re-recording (which won a Gramophone Award), will appear on the BCJ’s “Matthew Passion” stage for the first time.

 May’s Church Cantata Series (vol. 85) commemorates the 500th anniversary of Luther’s hymnody and the 300th anniversary of Bach’s choral cantatas, and is the first in a series of “choral cantata projects” to be launched with a two-year dry run. Please pay attention!

 In July, the first of the “B to B” series of composer genealogies will trace the path from Buxtehude to Bach. Buxtehude was the organist at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lübeck, which is highly acclaimed for its excellent instruments, and there is an anecdote that Bach was deeply fascinated when he heard him play the organ. He composed not only organ music but also many religious works for Protestant churches. This concert will feature “Membra Jesu nostri” and Bach’s cantata, and will offer a genealogy of religious music from the 17th to the 18th century.

 The September concert will feature Bach’s “Messe in h-moll” which was performed to great acclaim by packed audiences in Paris and Madrid during the 2022 European tour. In 2023, the BCJ was the first non-Western European group to perform the finale of the prestigious Bach Fest, performing the same piece at St. Thomas’ Church to great acclaim. This is the triumphant return of Masaaki Suzuki and the BCJ.

  In October, the second installment of the “B to B” series will follow the path from Bach to Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was deeply fascinated by Bach, so much so that he converted to Lutheranism and revived the “Matthew Passion”. We will perform his masterpiece of symphonic works with chorus, Symphony No. 2 ” Lobgesang”, together with J. S. Bach’s Cantata No. 80 (arranged by W. F. Bach), and enjoy the musical journey leading to the Romantic period.

 In March 2025, the fifth performance of the Choral Cantata Project (Church Cantata Series vol. 89) will feature four chorale cantatas composed in 1724. The 2024-25 season will conclude with Cantata No. 3, ” Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”.

We hope you will all look forward to Bach Collegium Japan in 2024, as we continue to move forward with new challenges!