The Belgian counter-tenor and conductor, René Jacobs, made his first contact with music through singing. As a child he was a chorister at the Cathedral of Gent. While he studies classical philology at the university of Gent he also continues singing in Brussels and then in La Haye. He met the Kuijken brothers, Gustav Leonhardt and Alfred Deller who encouraged him to specialize as a counter tenor. Within only a few years he was considered to be one of the best counter-tenors of his time and an excellent career was taking him across Europe, to the USA and to the Far East.
Full of enthusiasm for Baroque music and its tremendous repertoire which he is rediscovering, at the height of his singing career René Jacobs does not hesitate to enter the orchestra pit in order to conduct the forgotten operas, to edit the orchestra scores.
René Jacobs' first co-operation with the "Concerto Vocale" was in 1977, he began a series of recordings by Harmonia Mundi France, which was focused on the vocal chamber music of the 17th and 18th centuries and composers like Cesti, d'India, Ferrari, Marenzio, Lambert, Guédron and many others.
René Jacobs has conducted in public and for recordings: Orontea by Cesti, Xerse & Giasone by Cavalli, l'Incoronazione di Poppea and Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria by Monteverdi, Flavio & Giulio Cesare by Händel, Le Cinesi & Echo und Narziss by Gluck, La Finta Semplice by Mozart, Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti.
In 1992, the Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden of Berlin invited René Jacobs to be the conductor of Cleopatra e Cesare by Graun, for the 250th anniversary of this work and of the Berlin opera. He finished the Monteverdi Opera cycle with l'Orfeo at the Salzburger Festspiele (July / August 1993) and he continued his activities regarding the operas from Venice with the production of La Calisto by Cavalli at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels (1993) and a new production of Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival of Schwetzingen and at the Oper der Stadt Kšln (May / October 1993). The Théâtre des Champs Elysées has invited him to conduct Roland by Lully in December 1993.
As a conductor, René Jacobs regularly works with orchestras and ensembles such as the Concerto Köln, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin, Nederlands Kamerkoor and RIAS-Kammerchor for recordings and concert tours, performing sacred music and oratorios.
In addition to these activities René Jacobs remains devoted to his career as a singer and often produces recitals with his long time partners and friends together such as Konrad Junghänel, Wieland Kuijken, Roel Dieltiens and Andreas Staier.
René Jacobs has recorded more than a hundred records and won the most distinguished distinctions such as "Le Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros", "The International Record Critics Award", Deutscher Schallplattenpreis", "Cecilia Award", "Edison Award", "le prix Vivaldi" of the Cini foundation and "The Gramophone Award".
In 1991, René Jacobs was nominated artistic director of the opera programs at the Festwochen der Alten Musik in Innsbruck. He teaches the interpretation and the Baroque singing style at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Discography: Harmonia Mundi France, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Archiv Produktion, Teldec, Philips, RCA, Capriccio, Accent, Berlin Classics.