The Japan Bach Collegium was founded in 1990 by its music director Masaaki Suzuki
. Over the years the ensemble has performed its regular concerts at two locations: Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall and the Kobe Shoin Women's University Chapel.
Beginning in 1995 the JBC began a massive project for the BIS
label -- recording all the Church cantatas of J.S. Bach
. By January 2007, it had completed 33 CDs containing well over 100 cantatas. Intermixed with these releases have been albums of other Bach
works, including secular cantatas and violin concertos, as well as CDs devoted to Handel
(Membra Jesu Nostri), and many others.
The JBC initiated its first international tours in 2000 with appearances in Israel, Spain, and Australia. The following year included a highly successful tour of Italy (Rome, Milan, and Florence), and in 2003 it debuted in the United States, giving concerts in six cities, including New York (Carnegie Hall), Boston, and Los Angeles. Music director Masaaki Suzuki
has performed at the keyboard in many concerts and recordings, typically on the harpsichord or organ, two instruments on which he had developed virtuosic skills. It should be noted that Suzuki
, apart from his work with the JBC, has forged a highly successful career as a recitalist and soloist with other ensembles and as a recording artist.
Concert activity of note by the JBC has included a return tour of the United States in March 2006 and appearances in May that same year in London, Amsterdam, and Madrid. In 2011, following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the ensemble and presenting organizations donated proceeds from its US tour concerts to relief efforts. Among the JBC's recordings is the 2009 BIS
set of Bach
Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites. Admirers continue to be astonished at the pace of the Bach
cantata series, with four or five volumes appearing each year between 2006 and 2010!