Jac van Steen was born in Eindhoven and studied at the Brabants Conservatory of Music. He has held many posts, including Conductor and Music Director of Nijmegen’s Bach Choir (1986–90), Music Director of Amsterdam’s National Ballet (1989–94) and permanent Guest Conductor of the Bochum Symphony Orchestra (1992–4). Since 1997 he has been Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and in 1999 was appointed Chief Conductor and Music Director of the New Berlin Chamber Orchestra.
In 2002 he took up the positions of Music Director of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Chief Conductor of the Weimar Staatskapelle, where he remained until 2005, and also that of Chief Conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, Switzerland. He has been General Music Director of the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra and Dortmund Opera Theatre since 2007. Last September he becomes Principal Guest Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
His first engagement with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1997 led to return visits, CD recordings and his Proms debut, and various concerts and recordings are planned for the future. In 2005 he returned to the Proms with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, marking his appointment as Principal Guest Conductor with the orchestra. He has also worked with various other orchestras and ensembles in the UK, including the London Sinfonietta, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Halle?, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Opera North, and is a regular guest with the leading Dutch and German orchestras.
Alongside his activities as a conductor, Jac van Steen teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague.