Fred Jacobs studied lute and theorbo with Anthony Bailes at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. In 1985 he co-founded The Locke Consort, acknowledged for their interpretations and praised for their recordings of 17th century English chamber music. He is a member of the Gabrieli Consort and Players, The Parley of Instruments, the Baroque Orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society and the Monteverdi Continuo-ensemble of the Bavarian State Opera, where he has performed in all Monteverdi and Cavalli productions since 1997.
Fred Jacobs is a regular accompanist of many distinguished singers, such as soprano Anne Azéma, countertenor Michael Chance and baritone Maarten Koningsberger. With the Dutch soprano Johannette Zomer he has been recording a series of programmes devoted to 17th Century monody for which his research has unveiled many hidden treasures.
Over the years Fred Jacobs has been a guest at the major early music festivals in Europe and the United States. He performs in opera productions in London, Paris, Munich, Amsterdam and Florence. Fred Jacobs has worked with many conductors such as Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen,Ton Koopman, Ivor Bolton, Andrew Parrot, Marc Minkowski and Richard Egarr. With soprano Emma Kirkby, contralto Carolyn Watkinson, and baritone Maarten Koningsberger he gives workshops on the English lute song and on French ‘Air de Cour’.
Since 1995 Fred Jacobs teaches lute and theorbo at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam