As violinist, conductor, and Artistic Director of the vocal and instrumental chamber ensemble Cantata Profana, and as Co-Music Director of New York's Heartbeat Opera, Jacob Ashworth brings his passion for collaboration to every style of classical music. Praised as a baroque violinist by the NY Times for his “diligent attention to period style” and hailed by the Boston Globe for his “exacting and sensitive” interpretations of modern works, Jacob enjoys a richly varied performing life. In March 2015 he and singer Annie Rosen presented a fully memorized and staged production by Heartbeat Opera of György Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragments, an hour-long cycle of unparalleled virtuosity for voice and violin, under director Ethan Heard. Opera News called it “a flat-out triumph for its two fearless performers,” and the Wall Street Journal cheered that “the totally committed performers made it savage, moving and—when appropriate—funny.”
Other recent projects include a recital of the complete Brahms sonatas at St. Anthony Hall in New Haven, a fully staged production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire at the Yale Cabaret, a tour in Mexico to premiere his commission of Francisco Ladrón de Guevara’s Variations for Solo Violin, and conducting the premiere of Daniel Schlosberg’s opera Frau Trude for New Music New Haven. Performances as a duo with pianist Lee Dionne have included the premiere of Susan Kander’s Hermestänze, a cycle for violin and piano commissioned by Jacob, due for recording in 2016 with MSR Records.
Jacob’s performances with Cantata Profana continue to exhibit a virtuosic breadth of ability and deep love of collaboration; as a violinist he performs everything from Biber Mystery Sonatas, Bach Concerti, and Monteverdi Madrigals, to the vocal chamber music of Schoenberg, Webern, Messiaen, and Shostakovich, and as a conductor he leads works such as Ligeti’s Nouvelles aventures, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, Britten’s Phaedra, music of Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Carter, Saariaho, and Purcell. Jacob will receive his Doctor of Musical Arts in 2018 from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Ani Kavafian and was a recent member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble.