In addition to his international performing career, Julian Jacobson is now increasingly recognised as an inspirational teacher and coach, skilled at working at all levels from children to adult students of any age, professional and amateur. He began teaching in the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, London, when he was still a student himself and remained there for 12 years. After a year teaching at St Paul’s Boys School he took up an appointment at Royal Holloway College, University of London, where he taught piano from 1972 to 1981.
After a decade of intensive performing he returned to teaching in 1992 when he became Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Here he completely overhauled the syllabus, created several concert series, restocked the Library with up-to-date editions, and invited the late Keith Tippett to run the Jazz Department. Returning to London, he accepted an invitation to teach at the senior Royal College of Music in 2000 where he is still a Professor of Piano and Chamber Music. In 2012 he also began teaching at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Julian has given masterclasses throughout the world, in North and South America, Australia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Hungary and throughout Britain. He is Guest Professor at Xiamen University, China. From 1988 to 2004 he was Artistic Director of the Paxos Festival Greece, an international student music festival. He taught for many years at Dartington Summer School and now teaches regularly on courses such as Cadenza and Jackdaws. In 2021 he will teach at Chetham’s International Summer School. He is a Diploma Examiner for the ABRSM and is frequently invited as an external examiner and adjudicator.
Much of Julian’s early career was as a collaborative pianist and he has a comprehensive knowledge of the duo and chamber music repertoire. Fluent in French, German and Italian, he is also able to coach singers in the opera and song repertoire. An early passion for jazz led to his being the first pianist in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain, giving him also a special insight into the teaching of pieces in a jazz style.
Jacobson says: “I have an increasing passion for passing on the knowledge and experience I have been lucky enough to acquire over a lifetime’s music making. I try to see every student, whatever age or level, as an individual with a unique talent to be brought out and developed, and work with each one according to their current level and experience”.
Julian teaches on two grand pianos including a Steinway in his spacious 12th floor studio overlooking the river at Battersea. At the present time lessons are conducted on Zoom, FaceTime or Skype, with these platforms naturally also used for distance or international lessons.
Three years ago on a course at Jackdaws, Somerset, I first had the great privilege of experiencing Julian’s inspirational piano teaching. As an amateur, I felt most fortunate he agreed to help me improve further by taking me on as a private student. His clear, authoritative advice on all aspects of interpretation and technique are set within a fascinating musical and historical context. He sets the bar high which can be daunting but his kind, humorous approach always puts me at ease. I thoroughly enjoy every minute of my lessons with Julian and proceed after each with renewed energy, motivation and a hunger to learn more.Sarah Bailie, June 2020
Dear Julian, thank you so much for being such a brilliant master teacher for our 2020 winners, and especially for being such a good sport about doing so under such challenging conditions.
Again, I’m very grateful for your splendid contribution to our beloved event.
Speaking of Julian Jacobson – what an absolutely engaging master class it was! He clearly knows “The Thirty-Two” from the inside out, as well as the entire universe of “classical” music, citing and demonstrating illustrative examples from additional Beethoven sonatas as well as other musical genres to support his suggestions. Not only was it immensely instructive (I am still learning even at my ripe old age!), but his manner was at all times respectful, positive, and above all, colorful, making for a very enjoyable experience for both participants and auditors. In the words of one American Beethoven Society board member, a retired veterinarian, “The Zoom master class was fun, and I don’t know one iota about music.”Ellen Tryba Chen
ABS board member, YPBC Chairperson – In April 2020 Julian gave an online masterclass to students at the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University, California
I treasure Julian among my teachers for his seemingly bottomless depth of musical knowledge and understanding, and the energy and generosity with which he is willing to share it. The insights he shared during (piano and) chamber music coaching at the RCM remain an almost daily source of inspiration, ever-relevant in my day-to day musical life.Michael Foyle, violinist and former piano and chamber music student of Julian, youngest ever Professor of Violin at Royal Academy of Music.
It has been my privilege to work with Julian Jacobson over several years. I have been coached by him on vocal repertoire for orchestral concerts as well as for studio recordings and found his insights, based on his deep knowledge of the Art Song genre and his experience performing with some very fine singers, invaluable. I have also watched him teach a range of pianists from gifted primary school students right through to professional recital artists and was impressed by his warmth, generosity, and ability to communicate at a level appropriate to each situation. In 2020 whilst in Australia, Julian coached a number of The Parlour’s emerging singers and each one came away with the feeling that they’d received a special musical gift. Karen Van Spall, Mezzo Soprano and Artistic Director of The Parlour