Mar 7, 2019

World-renowned Bach specialist Masaaki Suzuki makes Tafelmusik debut with St Matthew Passion, March 19 to 24

Performances already 90% sold

“Suzuki is one of one of three supreme living interpreters of Bach”
—Spectator, UK 

“Suzuki has demonstrated an uncanny intuition and understanding of Bach’s genius.”
— Classics Today

Toronto, March 7, 2019 … Spring 2019 brings a highlight of Tafelmusik’s anniversary season, Bach’s peerless masterwork, St Matthew Passion. The multi-award-winning conductor Masaaki Suzuki makes his Tafelmusik debut conducting this monumental work for vocal soloists, two choirs, and two orchestras. Guest soloists James Gilchrist, tenor, in the role of Evangelist; Stephan Macleod, bass-baritone, in the role of Jesus; Hannah Morrison, soprano; Terry Wey, countertenor; and Tyler Duncan, baritone, join Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir and members of the Toronto Children’s Chorus for these performances, which take place March 21 to 24, 2019 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Complete program details are available at

Masaaki Suzuki has made Bach his life's work and is a leading authority on the performance of the composer’s music. As the founder and music director of Bach Collegium Japan, Suzuki believes that Bach’s music transcends cultures entirely.

St Matthew Passion conveys the final hours of Christ’s life through some of Bach’s most beautiful and exquisitely crafted music. With its depth and spirituality, St Matthew Passion  is a work that speaks to the whole of humanity.

Last presented by Tafelmusik in 2009, this complex and large-scale work has only been performed three times during the orchestra’s forty-year history. Members of the Toronto Children's Chorus will join to sing the descant chorale featured in the opening and closing choruses of Part One, as they did when Tafelmusik first performed the work in 1996. Tafelmusik’s 2019 performances will follow Bach’s own practice of integrating the vocal soloists (except for the Evangelist) within the choral sections.  

Stikeman Elliott is the artist sponsor for Masaaki Suzuki, and his appearance is made possible by The Japan Foundation.

Audience members are invited to join soprano Ann Monoyios for a free pre-concert chat one hour before each performance.


Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained their Music Director ever since, taking them around the world and establishing an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement and truth of his performances.

In addition to working with renowned period ensembles, such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, he has been invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Brahms, Britten, Mahler, Mendelssohn, and Stravinsky with orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, New York Philharmonic, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Masaaki Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as organist and harpsichordist. 

Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label, featuring all of Bach’s major choral works as well as the complete church cantatas and complete works for harpsichord, has brought him many critical plaudits. In 2012 Suzuki was awarded with the Leipzig Bach Medal, and in 2013 the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In April 2001, he was decorated with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir presents

Bach St Matthew Passion
Masaaki Suzuki, guest director

Hannah Morrison, soprano
Terry Wey, countertenor
James Gilchrist, tenor/Evangelist
Stephan MacLeod, bass-baritone/Jesus
Tyler Duncan, baritone
Members of the Toronto Children’s Chorus 

Thu Mar 21, Fri Mar 22, Sat Mar 23 at 7:30pm
Sun Mar 24 at 3:30pm
Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West

Regular: From $95 | 65+: From $90 | Youth (18 and under): $30 |Tafelscene (19-35 yrs)- $30: only available through Tafelscene email list sign-up
Box Office: (416) 964-6337


Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is one of the world’s leading period ensembles and Canada’s most-toured orchestra. Tafelmusik engages Toronto audiences with an annual season of more than 80 concerts in diverse venues across the city, as well as national and international audiences through an extensive schedule of tours and critically acclaimed recordings. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. Tafelmusik also seeks to transport audiences to the baroque and classical periods through adventurous cross-cultural collaborations, on stage with Toronto's Opera Atelier, and underground at its Haus Musik series. The orchestra’s musicians share their knowledge and experience through artist training initiatives such as the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer and Winter Institutes. Tafelmusik's catalogue of award-winning recordings on the SONY, CBC Records, Analekta, and Tafelmusik Media labels have garnered ten JUNO Awards and numerous other recording prizes. Jeanne Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita.


Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: BMO Financial Group, TD Bank Group, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, KPMG, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Whitmer Trudel Charitable Foundation, The Estate of Lawrence Ballon, Tom Bogart & Kathy Tamaki, The Pluralism Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Classical 96.3 FM, NOW Magazine, and Wholenote Magazine. Tafelmusik is a proud partner of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor.


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Media contact: Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications, (416) 456-0499| 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7