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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Bach Collegium Japan


BJC Masaaki Suzuki Frauenkirche Dresden 15 november 2008 photo: Marco Borggreve

Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Classical Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • History
  • Conducting
  • Music Education
  • Musicology
  • Organ
  • Strings
  • Voice
  • Winds & Percussion


  • Learn more about J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio here.
  • Find out about the unique challenges of preparing and performing the Christmas Oratorio in this radio interview.
  • Daniel Melamed discusses the performance practice of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in his essay “Multi-Day Passions and J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV248″ (Eighteenth Century Music, September 2014).


  • Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a long and particularly complex example of Parody music, a compositional technique that involves borrowing musical material from already-existing compositions. Why would Bach recycle material from other pieces in composing the Christmas Oratorio?
  • Many Baroque compositions for a large ensemble are conducted by the harpsichordist, who sits with their back facing the audience. Discuss Masaaki Suzuki’s conducting style as he performs with the group on harpsichord. How does he communicate with the chorus and orchestra?