A graduate of the Juilliard School, Druckman studied with Vincent Persichetti, Peter Mennin, and Bernard Wagenaar. In 1949 and 1950 he studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood and later continued his studies at the École Normale de Musique in Paris (1954–55). He worked extensively with electronic music, in addition to a number of works for orchestra or for small ensembles. In 1972 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his first large orchestral work, Windows. He was composer-in-residence of the New York Philharmonic from 1982 until 1985. Druckman taught at Juilliard, The Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood, Brooklyn College, Bard College, and Yale University, among other appointments. He is Connecticut's State Composer Laureate.
Druckman died of lung cancer at age 67. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. He is the father of percussionist Daniel Druckman.
Notable musicians who have recorded his works include David Zinman, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Dawn Upshaw, Jan DeGaetani, Dorian Wind Quintet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the American Brass Quintet.
- String Quartet No. 1 (1948)
- The Seven Deadly Sins (1955), for piano
- Dark Upon the Harp (1961–1962), for mezzo-soprano, brass, and percussion. Setting of texts from the Biblical Psalms.
- String Quartet No. 2 (1966)
- Animus I (1966–1967), for trombone and electronic tape
- Animus II (1967–1968), for mezzo-soprano, percussion and electronic tape
- Animus III (1968), for clarinet and electronic tape
- Incenters (1968), for 13 Instruments
- Valentine (1969), for solo contrabass
- Synapse (1971), for tape
- Windows (1972), for orchestra
- Delizie Contente Che l'Alme Beate After Cavalli (1973), for wind quintet and tape
- Lamia (1975), for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. "The texts," according to the composer, "range from the most terrifying damnings of ancient witches to the most innocent folkloric dream-conjuration of provincial maidens."
- Other Voices (1976), for brass quintet
- Aureole (1979), for orchestra
- Prism (1980), for orchestra
- String Quartet No. 3 (1981)
- Vox Humana (1983), for chorus and orchestra
- Reflections on the Nature of Water (1986), for solo marimba
- Brangle (1988–1989), for orchestra
- Antiphonies, for two choruses; setting of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
- Nor Spell Nor Charm (1990), for chamber orchestra
- Summer Lightning (1991), for orchestra
- Seraphic Games (1992), for orchestra
- Counterpoise (1994), for soprano and orchestra
- Although the "New York Times" obituary says June 25, according to the composer's son Daniel,[full citation needed] the correct date is, indeed, June 26.
- Keller, James M. "Thomas / Druckman / Harte". Liner note essay. New World Records.
- STATE OF CONNECTICUT, Sites º Seals º Symbols Archived March 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine; Connecticut State Register & Manual; retrieved on January 4, 2007
- Druckman, Jacob. Jacob Druckman: Lamia / That Quickening Pulse / Delizie Contente Che L'Alme Beate / Nor Spell Nor Charm / Suite from Médée. Essay from CD album booklet. Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
- Clarkson, Austin, and Steven Johnson. 2001. "Druckman, Jacob Raphael". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Griffiths, Paul. 2002. "Druckman, Jacob". The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Alison Latham. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866212-9
- The Jacob Druckman Papers, the composer's personal papers and manuscripts, are housed in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
- Biography at Boosey and Hawkes Publisher
- Jacob Druckman at the Avant Garde Project has FLAC files made from high-quality LP transcriptions of out-of-print vocal, instrumental, and electroacoustic works by Druckman available for free download.
- Interview with Jacob Druckman, March 22, 1989