Jacob Ashworth

violinist, conductor, artistic director

“A flat-out triumph for its two fearless performers” raved Opera News for violinist Jacob Ashworth's 2015 fully staged, memorized performance of Kurtag’s Kafka-Fragments. Across the spectrum of classical music, Jacob has gained a reputation as a consummate stylist, from his “exacting and sensitive” interpretations of modern works (Boston Globe) to his “diligent attention to [baroque] period style” (NY Times). He is the "impressive Artistic Director" (NY Times) of Cantata Profana, a baroque/modern ensemble for vocal and instrumental chamber music he founded in 2012 at the Yale School of Music, and which received the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2016. He is Co-Music Director of Heartbeat Opera, most recently conducting a “richly detailed yet delicate rendering” (NY Times) of Puccini’s Butterfly in 2017. And for their 2016 production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the New Yorker noted, “Ashworth, leading from the violin, elicited a performance that was elegant, boisterous, and melancholy by turns.”

Jacob has been an artist at the Staunton Music Festival, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Wellesley Composer’s Conference, Lake George Music Festival, and Music Mountain, as well as the Festival Daniou in Brittany. A student of renowned violinist Ani Kavafian, Jacob has also studied baroque violin with Robert Mealy as a member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble, and has performed extensively on period instruments, including as concertmaster for Nicholas McGegan with Mark Morris Dance Group, on tour to the UK and Paris with Juilliard 415, and in New York with Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Yale’s Schola Cantorum, and New York Baroque Incorporated.

In demand as a contemporary music violinist, Jacob has performed and recorded numerous new works by friends, teachers, and colleagues and with new music organizations in New York such as MATA, the American Composer's Alliance, the Stone, Trinity's NOVUS NY, Kettle Corn New Music, the Locrian Chamber Players and more. Jacob conducted the 2016 premiere reading of composer Susan Kander's full opera The News from Poems, and his first album, “Hermestänze,” featuring cycles for violin by Kander appears on MSR Records.