Jacob Ashworth is the “impressive Artistic Director” (NYTimes) of the stylistically omnivorous ensemble Cantata Profana, where he has won awards and acclaim for his vision of crafting theatrical, genre-bending chamber music shows. He is also Co-Music Director of the “categorically imaginative and radical” (New Yorker) Heartbeat Opera, which is fast becoming one of the most influential companies making opera today. As a soloist, Jacob appears in recitals and chamber music performances throughout the US.
Jacob performs equally on modern and baroque violin, as a conductor, and occasionally on renaissance vielle. On period instruments he has been concertmaster for Mark Morris Dance Group and Opera Lafayette, and performed with American Bach Soloists, TENET, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Helicon Ensemble, Juilliard415, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, New York Baroque Inc., the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, and at the Smithsonian Institution. In contemporary music, he has worked closely with numerous composers and premiered works with New York New Music Ensemble, Princeton Sound Kitchen, MATA Festival, Locrian Chamber Players, The Stone, NOVUS NY, Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, The Cecilia Series of Kansas City, and at the Museo National de Arte in Mexico City. Jacob has been an artist at the Staunton Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Wellesley Composer’s Conference, France’s Festival Daniou, Lake George Music Festival, and Music Mountain.
Jacob has been called a “lithe and nimble” (NYTimes) baroque violinist, an “exacting and sensitive” (Boston Globe) new music player, and a “richly detailed” (NYTimes) conductor. With Heartbeat, Jacob has championed the unique practice of leading operas from the violin, “doing powerful work from the music stand” (Opernwelt). His 2015 fully staged performance of György Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragments, an hour-long tour-de-force for violin and voice, was hailed as a “flat-out triumph” by Opera News. His latest album, “Hermestänze,” on MSR Records, features cycles for solo violin by Susan Kander, played “expressively and knowingly throughout” (Gramophone).
Jacob earned his masters and doctorate from the Yale School of Music under renowned violinist Ani Kavafian and studied baroque violin with Robert Mealy as a member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble. Previous degrees include a Performer Diploma from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s from Manhattan School of Music.