Jan Kobow was born in Berlin and initially studied organ at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and church music in Hanover, before taking up voice studies at the Academy of Music in Hamburg with Sabine Kirchner. In 1998 he won first prize at the 11th International Bach Competition in Leipzig.
He performs with conductors such as Howard Arman, Stefan Asbury, Frieder Bernius, Marcus Creed, Michel Corboz, Paul Goodwin, Robin Gritton, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Thomas Hengelbrock, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Sigiswald Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, Hermann Max, Philippe Pierlot, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Ludger Rémy, Daniel Reuss, Michael Schönheit, Morten Schuldt-Jensen, Andreas Spering, Masaaki Suzuki, Jeffrey Tate and Jos van Veldhoven. In 2007 he made his début singing the title rôle in concert performances of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Les Talens Lyriques under Christophe Rousset.
Jan Kobow feels a strong attachment to Lied, particularly of the Romantic period, and gives frequent recitals with Graham Johnson, Cord Garben, Burkhard Kehring and Phillip Moll. He also performs with noted fortepiano specialists such as Leo van Doeselaar and Kristian Bezuidenhout. He has released four recordings of Lieder on CD (Schubert: Schwanengesang and Die schöne Müllerin with Kristian Bezuidenhout; Loewe: Lieder und Balladen with Cord Garben and Siegmund von Seckendorff: Lieder from Goethe’s Weimar with Ludger Rémy). He is a regular guest at the festival “Kissinger Sommer” and was awarded the Luitpold prize in 2004. He has been invited to give several recitals of the Schubert Schwanengesang in the US and Canada together with Kristian Bezuidenhout. In January 2007 Jan Kobow gave a recital (Dichterliebe) at the Guildhall London.
As an opera singer he was guest at the Boston Early Music Festival in 2003 (Conradi’s Ariadne). In January 2004 he made his début at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels as Telemaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. With this production he gave guest performances in the Lincoln Center, New York.
Jan Kobow performs regularly with the vocal ensemble Himlische Cantorey, of which he is a founding member.
Jan Kobow has been engaged in numerous CD productions and broadcasts. Several of his recordings have received the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. He also participated in the recording of the complete cantatas of JS Bach (“Bach Cantata Pilgrimage”) under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner.