Jacob Ashworth

violinist, conductor, artistic director

I am proud to direct two of New York's most intrepid, audacious, and acclaimed new artistic ventures: 

Cantata Profana & Heartbeat Opera


"Cantata Profana, an audacious ensemble, is heard in New York doing just about every kind of classical music you might imagine." - The New Yorker

"While its theatrical bent is a constant, Cantata Profana's approach to the repertory is admirably varied and indefinable.  It's devoted not to new or modern or early music - such specialists proliferate - but to most anything, so long as the mixture is put together thoughtfully and put across persuasively."  - The New York Times 

I founded Cantata Profana in 2012 at the Yale School of Music, with a vision for unique programming of baroque and modern works, with an emphasis on vocal chamber music and theatricality. We received the 2016 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in our fifth season and have continued curated new shows every year. As violinist, conductor, and Artistic Director of a group of world-class musicians, great friends, and brilliant minds, I have learned so much about the creation of classical music theater. Cantata Profana has become my main occupation, and I'm thankful that it has led me to such incredible artists and audiences. 




"Pioneers...reformatting the opera experience from the grand to the deliberately intimate." - The Wall Street Journal

"Gripping drama...dazzling musical skills...clearly inspired guidance...a flat-out triumph." - Opera News

Heartbeat Opera emerged as the result of collaborations between four of us in the Drama and Music Schools at Yale. Co-Artistic Directors Ethan Heard and Louisa Proske paired up with Daniel Schlosberg (Cantata Profana) and myself as Co-Music Directors to create a company that transforms great works of the operatic canon through visionary adaptations, radical arrangements for chamber ensembles, and intimate, visceral productions that put the singers and the instrumentalists at the center of the work. In four years we have soared: We opened our third season with the first ever opera produced on NYC's High Line, our Drag Opera Extravaganzas are becoming must-see events in New York, and we are bringing opera to more and more audiences while making headlines with our interpretations and transformations of the genre.

As a specialist in vocal chamber music, a conductor, and someone who had an extremely fortunate and expansive career as a boy soprano, running an opera company is a dream come true. Opera productions are the height of collaboration, and the Heartbeat team involves some of the most inspiring designers, producers, performers, auteurs, singers, actors, and visionaries. Whether performing György Kurtag's fiendishly difficult and dramatic Kafka-Fragments fully memorized as one character of a two-person show, or directing Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas by leading the singers and baroque band from the violin, or conceiving and conducting a new version of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, I have loved this company.