Jacob Katsnelson was born in Moscow in 1976. He graduated from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and completed a postgraduate study there (piano class of Eliso Virsaladze and chamber ensemble class of Tatiana Gaidamovich and Alexander Bonduryansky).
Diploma-recipient at the Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium (1999). Prize-winner at the International Piano Competition in Tbilisi (2001), the International Sviatoslav Richter Piano Competition (2005), the International Sergei Taneyev Chamber Ensemble Competition (1999) and the International Chamber Ensemble Competition in Trapani (Sicily).
Has given recitals in CIS countries, Australia, Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Belgium, Bosnia, Hungary, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Georgia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, France and Switzerland.
Regularly appears at the Music Festival of the Sviatoslav Richter Foundation in Tarusa, the Oleg Kagan Festival in Kreuth, the Utrecht Chamber Music Festival, the Sarajevo Winter festival in Sarajevo and the Return festival of chamber music in Moscow.
Has appeared alongside Boris Brovtsyn, Janine Jansen, Maxim Rysanov, Boris Andrianov, Kristina Blaumane, Mischa Maisky, Lyudmila Belobragina, Marianna Shalitaeva, Vladimir Sokolov, Yevgeny Petrov and Martin Fröst among other musicians.
Has collaborated with the State Academic Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Since 1998 he has taught at the Moscow Gnessin Middle Special School of Music and, since 2001, at the Moscow State Conservatoire.
In 2007 he released a disc with cellist Kristina Blaumane on the Quartz label, and in 2008 he featured in a recording of works by Brahms with violist Maxim Rysanov on the Onyx label.