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Masaaki Suzuki awarded honorary doctorate

12:12, 21st November 2014

To mark its 160th anniversary, the Senate of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in Kampen is to award Japanese harpsichordist and conductor Masaaki Suzuki with an honorary doctorate in theology – the first to be awarded by the department.

The university says Suzuki, founder of Bach Collegium Japan, is being awarded with the honour to recognise ‘his extraordinary merit in the field of interpretation of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach and of the explicit connection he makes between the music of Bach and the Christian faith’. Suzuki is perhaps best known for his complete recordings of Bach’s cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan with Swedish label BIS Records.

In addition to the doctorate, Suzuki’s scholarly achievements include degrees for organ and music direction from Tokyo University of the Arts, as well as having studied organ, harpsichord and improvisation at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He has taught at Duisburg, Germany, is a visiting professor at Yale Institute for Sacred Music, and founded and directed the early music department at the National University of Arts and Music in Tokyo, Japan.

The rector of the university, prof.dr. M. te Velde, says: ‘We are delighted that Suzuki has been willing to accept the honorary doctorate. He knows how to forge a close relationship between the Lutheran musical tradition, Calvinism, and his Asiatic background. As with Bach his musicology and theology are intertwined in a unique way.’

Suzuki will be presented with the doctorate in a degree ceremony on 28 January 2015, held during a public meeting of the senate in the Bovenkerk in Kampen.

(Image credit: Marco Borggreve)

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