Ben Jacks holds the position of Principal Horn in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and is a Faculty member at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). He was born in Hobart in 1975 and, after studying with Heidi Kepper at the University of Western Australia, he travelled overseas, studying with Dale Clevenger and Gail Williams in Chicago, Stefan Dohr in Berlin, Erich Penzel in Cologne and Hector McDonald in Vienna.
He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Principal Third Horn in 1998 and in 2001 was appointed Principal Horn. In Australia he has also appeared as a guest principal with the Tasmanian, Adelaide, Queensland, West Australian and Melbourne symphony orchestras and the Opera Australia Orchestra. Internationally, he has performed with the period instrument ensemble Academy of Vienna, regularly appears as guest principal with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan, and in 2017 was invited by Riccardo Muti to perform as guest principal with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed as guest principal with the London Symphony Orchestra since 2014, and in 2018 joined the LSO on tour with Simon Rattle.
In 2003 he played Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings with the SSO (also performing the same work with the WASO). Since then he has appeared as a soloist with the orchestra on a number of occasions, performing Mozart horn concertos (K417 and K447), Schumann’s Konzertstück for four horns and Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No.1. He is a founding member of the Australian Brass Quintet, and maintains a busy schedule as a soloist and chamber musician. His debut recording, Rhapsodie: Fantasie: Poème, conducted by Barry Tuckwell, features previously unrecorded works for horn and orchestra by Jean-Michel Damase.