René Jacobs

With more than 260 recordings to his credit and an intensive career as singer, conductor, scholar and teacher, René Jacobs has achieved an eminent position in the field of Baroque and Classical vocal music. He received his early musical education as a choirboy in the cathedral of his native city of Ghent, and remained active as a singer during his university studies in Classical Philology. His encounters with Alfred Deller, Gustav Leonhardt and the Kuijken brothers were to determine his orientation towards Baroque music and specialization as countertenor, in which he very soon established his reputation as one of the most prominent singers of his time. In 1977 he founded the ensemble Concerto Vocale, exploring 17th century vocal chamber music and operatic repertoire and made a serie of impressive recordings, many of them international award winning and “World premieres.”


René Jacobs made his debut as an opera conductor in 1983 with a production of Antonio Cesti’s Orontea at the Innsbrucker Festwochen, where later he held the position of artistic director from 1996 to 2009. His long and successful collaborations with the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden since 1992, Theater an der Wien (Vienna) since 2006, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels), the Salzburger Festspiele, Festival of Aix-en-Provence and other leading international stages in Europe, USA and Asia, conducting from early baroque to Rossini and from the most unknown to the most famous titles.


His work as a conductor is distinctive for its pioneering spirit and his profound studies of historical sources have often resulted in fresh and daring interpretations of the standard opera repertoire. Examples of such are his internationally acclaimed Mozart operas recordings, remarkable for their unique fusion of scholarship and musical instinct. His Nozze di Figaro was rewarded by a Grammy as best opera and the Gramophone magazine (UK) has quoted in an article: “René Jacobs’s Mozart opera series are one of the recorded marvels of our time”.


Alongside his extensive operatic activity, performing sacred music and oratorio has always been a very important part of Jacobs’ career. Elected Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Ghent, René Jacobs has received many of the most prominent prizes from international critics for his recordings and for his musical career achievements.




© Photo: Philippe MATSAS


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