Jacques Vanherenthals began his career as an orchestra musician in 1969, playing double-bass with the Royal Antwerp Opera. He stayed with the opera for four years, whilst simultaneously completing his studies in theory, counterpoint and analysis at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. It was during this time that he developed an interest in directing, and in 1975 he left for Salzburg to study conducting with Otmar Suitner.

In the fifteen years he spent as first bassist in the now defunct RTBF Symphony Orchestra, from 1973-1988, Jacques Vanherenthals came into contact with more than three hundred different conductors, an experience which, he says, provided him with the ideal learning ground for directing. In 1988 he was appointed director of the Nivelles Music Academy, and in 1989 became director of the Acacemy of Forest-lez-Bruxelles. Between 1986 and 2006 he was also engaged in the teaching of chamber music at the Brussels Conservatory.

Jacques Vanherenthals is the founder and artistic director of the ENSEMBLE ORCHESTRAL de BRUXELLES (www.ensembleorchestraldebruxelles.be), created in 1994 in collaboration with friends and former colleagues E. Demesmaeker, R. Dehon and recording engineer Yves Ghiot. The aim of this orchestra is to promote young Belgian and foreign artists. In ten years, the EOB has played host to more than 150 young instrumental and vocal virtuosi. Jacques Vanherenthals was also artistic director of the baroque ensemble "La Chapelle des Minimes", which he directed from 1987 until 2006. In Addition to all the major works of J. S. Bach, Jacques Vanherenthals has already directed more than 150 cantatas by the Cantor of Leipzig.

In 1982 Jacques Vanherenthals founded the Brussels Double-bass Quartet, for which he has composed a number of original works, including "Varium et Mutabile", "Entre éther et terre", of which several versions have been released on CD. The quartet has toured throughout France, Italy, Louisiana, Ontario and Quebec. Although the majority of Jacques Vanherenthals's works have been written for his own instrument, the double-bass, his mass, "Missa Cordis Intus in Anima", for mixed chorus, six violas, six cellos, two double-basses and organ, was enthusiastically received upon its first production at the Cathedral of St Michel and Gudule in Brussels. In 2013, he wrote four baroque-suiten for solo doublebass, to order from his friend, Francis Laforge, teacher by the conservatoire "Darius Milhaud, in Aix en Provence.

In 2000, Jacques Vanherenthals was invited to bring the EOB and Brussels Chamber Chorus to the Bach Festival in Saint-Donat (Drôme), and to the Semaine Musicale d'Annecy with François-René Duchable and Alain Carré. He has also directed several opera-bel canto concerts with José Van Dam at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Continuing his work with the OEB, he recorded a CD entirely devoted to the works of Frédéric Van Rossum for "Pavane Records". In 2004 he and the EOB returned once more to the French Bach Festivals in St Donat and Pontaumur.

From 2016, he is musicaldirector by the "Festival of the Minimes" in the heart of Brussels during July en August.