René Jacobs (born 30 October 1946) is a Belgian musician. He came to fame as a countertenor but in recent years has become renowned as a conductor of Baroque and early Classical opera.
More recently, as a conductor, Jacobs has recorded numerous operas and sacred and secular works of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. His recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro is especially renowned, having won such awards as Gramophone's Record of the Year for 2004, "Le Monde de la Musique"'s Choc of the Year for 2004, a Grammy Award for "Best Opera recording of 2005", and two Midem Classical Awards in 2004. Other award-winning recordings include George Frideric Handel’s Rinaldo (Cannes Classical Award, 2004), and Joseph Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten (Diapason d’Or of 2005). The partial discography below lists some of the many other awards won by Jacobs' recordings. His recordings and work have won numerous awards, including the Grammy Award for "Best Opera", Gramophone 's "Record of the Year", the "III Premio Traetta 2011", and numerous European awards. His recording of Mozart's Magic Flute was Record of the Year at the inaugural International Classical Music Awards in April 2011.
He is particularly noted as a singer's conductor, and for his handling of recitative.
Jacobs regularly conducts such orchestras and ensembles as the Concerto Köln, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Freiburger Barockorchester, Nederlands Kamerkoor and RIAS Kammerchor for recordings and concert tours. In 1992, the Berlin State Opera invited Jacobs to conduct there.
From 1991 to 2009, Jacobs was the artistic director of opera programs at Innsbruck's Festwochen der Alten Musik (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music). He also teaches interpretation and Baroque singing style at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.