Performance Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | 8 PM

Bach Collegium Japan

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Founded in 1990 in Japan, Bach Collegium Japan’s reputation for great Baroque performances is worldwide. “The fleet Bach Collegium emphasizes beauty and a flowing line,” says The Times of London, and their founder has a “subtle ear for color, a keen sense of harmonic direction, and an ability to make phrases breathe and rhythms live” (The New York Times).


  • Bach Collegium Japan
    Masaaki Suzuki, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Clint van der Linde, Countertenor
  • Gerd Türk, Tenor
  • Hana Blažíková, Soprano
  • Peter Kooij, Bass
  • Rachel Nicholls, Soprano


  • BACH Mass in B Minor


  • Bach Collegium Japan

    Comprising a Baroque orchestra and choir, Bach Collegium Japan is widely recognized as among the world's leading interpreters of the works of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries. Founded in 1990 by its current Music Director, Masaaki Suzuki, the ensemble introduced Japanese audiences to period instrument performances, and has since performed around the world and made acclaimed recordings for the BIS label. Bach Collegium Japan made its North American debut in April 2003, performing Bach's St. Matthew and St. John passions across the US, including at Carnegie Hall and in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Boston. Recent performances include international tours in such major European music centers as Madrid, Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), London (Barbican Centre), Rome, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels; at leading festivals in Edinburgh, Santiago de Compostela, Tel Aviv, Leipzig, and Melbourne; and at the BBC Proms.

    Masaaki Suzuki

    Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained the ensemble's Music Director ever since, taking it regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the US, and building an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement and truth of his performances.

    Mr. Suzuki is now regularly invited to work with such renowned European period ensembles as Collegium Vocale Gent and the Freiburger Barockorchester-with which he visited several European capitals last season-as well as modern-instrument orchestras in repertoire that includes works by Britten, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Stravinsky. Forthcoming engagements include performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. Highlights of his current season with Bach Collegium Japan include 20th anniversary concerts in Tokyo and a tour of the US, as well as a visit to the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

    Mr. Suzuki's impressive discography on the BIS label-which features Bach's complete works for harpsichord and interpretations of Bach's major choral works and sacred cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan (of which he has already completed more than 40 volumes of a project to record the complete series)-have brought him critical acclaim.

    Mr. Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as an organist and harpsichordist; this year, he gives solo performances at Carnegie Hall and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. 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. Founder and head of the early music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts, he is currently Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting at the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.
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  • Clint van der Linde

    Clint van der Linde started singing at the Drakensberg Boys' Choir School at the age of 10, performed as a boy-soprano soloist with most of the major orchestras in South Africa, and studied at the Royal College of Music in London. He has performed with such ensembles as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Hanover Band; Academy of Ancient Music; Kings College, Cambridge; King's Consort; London Handel Orchestra; Il Fondamento; Le Musiche Nove; Combattimento Consort Amsterdam; Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra; Salzburg Camerata; Israel Camerata; and Lautten Compagney. He has also worked with such conductors as Frieder Bernius, Stephen Cleobury, Paul Dombrecht, Wolfgang Katschner, Robert King, Nicholas Kraemer, Gerard Korsten, Sir Roger Norrington, Claudio Osele, Peter Schreier, and Jan Willem de Vriend.

    Opera engagements include the title roles in Handel's Lotario, Ottone, and Flavio; Dardano in Amadigi di Gaula; Judas in The Brockes Passion; Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream; and his debut at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in Handel's Agrippina with the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam. He has recorded the title role of Conti's David with the Lautten Compagney, and has appeared in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, and major concert halls in Spain, Portugal, Poland, and the Czech Republic, as well as at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Halle Händel Festspiele, Bach Festival in Leipzig, Kissinger Sommer Festival, and the Cuenca Festival in Spain.

    Recent engagements include the title role in Rinaldo with Bach Collegium Japan under Maasaki Suzuki at the Edinburgh Festival, the title roles in Tolomeo and Flavio with the English Touring Opera, Handel's Messiah on tour in Australia, and Andronico in Tamerlano at the Göttingen Händel Festival.
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  • Gerd Türk

    Gerd Türk began his vocal training as a member of the Limburger Domsingknaben, and went on to study music education, church music, and choral direction at the Frankfurt Conservatory with Helmuth Rilling and Arleen Auger, and Baroque singing at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with René Jacobs and Richard Levitt. He has since become a sought-after soloist, touring throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, North and South America, and Australia.

    Mr. Türk has performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker and at prestigious concert halls, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Palais Garnier in Paris, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Musikverein in Vienna, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, under the baton of such conductors as Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman, Jordi Savall, and Frans Brüggen, among others. Mr. Türk has been a member of various ensembles, among them Cantus Cölln, Germany's leading vocal group, and the medieval music group Gilles Binchois. Opera engagements include performances in Montpellier, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Antwerp, and Madrid.

    Mr. Türk has recorded more than 100 CDs for the Sony, Erato, BIS, BMG, Virgin, and Harmonia Mundi France labels, including the complete Bach oratorios, Monteverdi's Vespers, Mozart's Requiem, and lieder by Carl Orff, which have received numerous awards (Edison and Gramophone Awards, Grand Prix du Disque, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik). Mr. Turk is regularly involved in the complete recordings of Bach's vocal music with Bach Collegium Japan, which have been highly acclaimed by the international press and the public.

    Gerd Türk currently holds a professorship at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, and gives master classes in numerous countries, most notably Japan (Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), Germany, Spain, and South Korea.
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  • Hana Blažíková

    A native of Prague, Hana Blažíková graduated from the Prague Conservatory in 2002, and undertook further study with Poppy Holden, Peter Kooij, Monika Mauch, and Howard Crook.

    Ms. Blažíková specializes in interpretations of Baroque, Renaissance, and medieval music, performing with such ensembles and orchestras as Collegium Vocale Gent, Bach Collegium Japan, Sette Voci, Gli Angeli Genève, La Fenice, Tafelmusik, Collegium 1704, Collegium Marianum, and Musica Florea, among others.

    Ms. Blažíková has sung the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Karlovy Vary Theater, and appeared as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in the Mozart Opera summer festival at Prague's Estates Theatre. She has performed at many European festivals, including Prague Spring, Oude Muziek Utrecht, Resonanzen (Vienna), Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), Festival de Sablé, Festival de La Chaise-Dieu, and Festival de Saintes. She is a member of the Tiburtina Ensemble, and also performs in concert on the gothic harp.
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  • Peter Kooij

    Peter Kooij began his musical career at age six as a choir boy, and also studied violin. He later received a scholarship to study with Max van Egmond at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He has since been an active soloist worldwide, performing in such concert halls as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Vienna's Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, the Berlin and Cologne philharmonies, Palais Garnier in Paris, and Suntory and Casals halls in Tokyo, under such conductors as Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman, Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Roger Norrington, Michel Corboz, and Iván Fischer. His repertoire includes music from Schütz to Weill, and he has made more than 100 CDs for Philips, Sony, Virgin Classics, Harmonia Mundi, Erato, EMI, and BIS. His recordings of the complete Bach cantatas with Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan, and of Bach's cantatas and passions, have received critical acclaim.

    Mr. Kooij is the Artistic Director of the Ensemble Vocal Européen. From 1991 to 2000, he was a professor at the Sweelinck Conservatorium; from 1995 to 1998, he was a lecturer on the faculty at the Musikhochschule in Hannover. Since 2000, he has been a guest teacher at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, and he has given master classes in Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Finland, and Japan.
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  • Rachel Nicholls

    Born in Bedford, England, Rachel Nicholls is one of the most versatile sopranos of her generation, with a huge repertoire that ranges from works by Bach and Handel to Schoenberg and Errollyn Wallen. She made her BBC Proms debut in 2008, singing Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music, and returned in 2009 for The Mask of Orpheus-The Arches. She has appeared at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; English National Opera; Early Opera Company; Scottish Opera; and Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing, as well as in concerts throughout the UK, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the US.

    Ms. Nicholls has worked with such conductors as Martyn Brabbins, Stephen Cleobury, Christian Curnyn, Thomas Dausgaard, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Martin Gester, Richard Hickox, Adrian Leaper, Pieter Jan Leusink, Sir Simon Rattle, and Steven Sloane. In addition, she was the featured soloist at Sir Roger Norrington's 75th birthday concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at London's Royal Festival Hall.

    Ms. Nicholls has appeared in recital at London's Wigmore Hall, and her broadcasts include Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Le Parlement de Musique, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen and Il ritorno di Tobia with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Dvořák's Stabat Mater with the BBC Concert Orchestra. With Bach Collegium Japan, she has recorded the B-Minor Mass and two volumes of cantatas (BIS); additional recordings include Dorinda in Orlando (K617), Metella in Silla (Somm), Hummel's Mass in D Minor (Chandos), two volumes of Music by Cecilia McDowall (Dutton), and Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio (Birmingham Bach Choir).
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This concert is underwritten by Yoko Nagae Ceschina.

JapanNYC Lead Sponsors are Epson Corporation; Mizuho Securities USA Inc.; Nomura Holding America Inc. and Nomura America Foundation; Kotaro ONO, The Chairman of The ONO Group; ROHM Co., Ltd. and Rohm Music Foundation; Sony Corporation; and Yoko Nagae Ceschina.

Supporting Sponsors are Deloitte LLP; Mitsubishi International Corporation; Suntory Holdings Limited and Suntory Hall; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Toshiba Corporation; and Toyota.

With additional funding from Aladdin Capital Holdings LLC; Asian Cultural Council; The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.; GWFF USA Inc.; ITOCHU International Inc.; J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York; Kawasaki Good Times Foundation; The NY Mets Foundation; Nihon Unisys, Ltd.; Nippon Express Foundation, Inc.; Nippon Life Insurance Company; Hiroko Onoyama and Ken Sugawara; Seiko Instruments Inc.; Subaru of America, Inc.; and Sumitomo Corporation of America Foundation.

With special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan; Japan Tourism Agency; Japan National Tourism Organization; the Japan Foundation; and the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.


Bach Mass in B Minor (“Gloria in excelsis Deo”)
Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki, Artistic Director and Conductor

At a Glance

Often seen as an apt culmination to Bach’s extraordinary musical career, the Mass in B Minor is the product of four decades of composition. Although many questions surround his motivations for creating the work, Bach likely knew it would not be performed in his lifetime, and instead created it as a deeply personal display of his compositional mastery.
Program Notes
The Choral Classics series is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

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