James Jacobs can be heard Tuesday through Friday evenings on WETA Classical; he is also one of the announcers for their online channel WETA VivaLaVoce and does audio production of both on air and online content for the station. He has worked as a radio host and producer since 1999, when the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, where he had just joined the faculty as a cello teacher and choral director, was approached by WNYE with a proposal to co-produce an educational radio show about music. This led to his hosting their station’s morning show, which then led to his being the overnight host on WNYC, which in turn led to his being a full-time host and producer for WGBH in Boston, and then finally here to WETA.
James has had a long career as a musician in many genres; he has been conducted by Gustav Leonhardt and Mstislav Rostropovich, written scores for documentaries produced by HBO and PBS, and has appeared on Prairie Home Companion, Saturday Night Live and BBC Radio Four’s Soul Music. He has produced holiday radio specials that have been heard throughout the country on Public Radio International (including Passover and Hanukkah specials featuring Itzhak Perlman), and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post and Moment Magazine. He continues to teach and compose, and his recent projects include designing the sound for a dance piece performed at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, and conducting his own English-language adaptation and chamber arrangement of Mozart’s Così fan tutte for Act Too Studio, a opera program for teenagers in Western Massachusetts.