Jacques Zoon studied at the Sweelinck Conservatoire in Amsterdam with Koos Verheul and Harrie Starreveld, as well as in Canada at the Banff Center for the Arts under Geoffrey Gilbert and András Adorján. He won the second prize of the Willem Pijper Competition in 1981. In 1987, he received the Special Prize of the Jury at the Jean-Pierre Rampal competition.
First a member of the Dutch Youth Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra, Jacques Zoon was then appointed as principal flute of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of The Hague and finally, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a post he held from 1988 to 1994. From 1989 to 1997 he was deputizing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 1997 he became principal flute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was named Musician of the Year by the Boston Globe in 1998. He is currently principal lfute with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Mozart Orchestra, both under the direction of Claudio Abbado.
He gives concerts as soloist and chamber musician and has collaborated with numerous well-known orchestras from around the world. He has made several recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Phillips, Decca, Chandos, boston Records, Vanguard Classics, Schwann-Koch and Pony Canyon. In 1991 he received, with the pianist Bernd Backman, the Edison Award for their acclaimed recording of contemporary Dutch music for flute and piano.
He taught at the Rotterdam Conservatoire from 1988 to 1994, then at Indiana university from 1994 to 1997 and at Boston University and New England Conservatory from 1997 to 2001. He has also taught chamber music at the Queen Sofia Music School in Madrid since 2008. He is Professor at the High School of Music in Geneva since 2002.
In 2005, he founded Zoon&Maia Flutes, a company making wooden flutes.