The Dutch organist, Jacques van Oortmerssen, studied organ with André Verwoerd and piano with Elly Salomé at the Conservatory of Music in Rotterdam. He continued his organ studies with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris and was awarded the "Prix d'Excellence" in 1976.
Since 1979 Jacques van Oortmerssen has been Professor of Organ at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where his organ class attracts students from many different countries. In 1982 he succeeded Gustav Leonhardt as Organiste Titulaire of the Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam. In addition to being a visiting professor at the University of Göteborg, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Lyon, and the GOArt organ center, he has visited conservatories and universities worldwide as a guest teacher. For the academic year 1993-1994 he became Betts Fellow in Organ Studies at Oxford University.
As a recitalist Jacques van Oortmerssen has appeared in many international festivals, such as the BBC Proms. His interpretations of Bach and early music have brought him widespread acclaim. He is also active as a conductor, composer, and organ consultant.
Jacques van Oortmerssen has made many recordings, including the complete organ works of Brahms and C. P. E. Bach. In 1995 he began recording the complete organ works by J. S. Bach on the most important historical organs in Europe for Challenge Classics; the 8th volume in the series was recently released.