Conductor and violinist Reinhard Goebel has been at the forefront of the historical performance movement as the founder and director of the Musica Antiqua Köln. Goebel has an impressive, well-regarded recording catalog, and following Musica Antiqua's run and his retirement from playing the violin, he has continued to conduct and has established himself as an educator of note.
Goebel was born on July 31, 1952, in Siegen, then West Germany. He began lessons on the violin at age 12 and attended the Cologne Conservatory, where he studied with Franzjosef Maier. He would round out his violin education by studying with Saschko Gawriloff at the Folkwangschule in Essen and Baroque violin with Marie Leonhardt and Eduard Melkus. In 1973, while studying musicology in Cologne, Goebel founded the legendary historical instrument ensemble Musica Antiqua Köln. Initially made up of other students at the university who were similarly interested in the music of the 17th and 18th centuries, Musica Antiqua would become one of the most influential early music ensembles in the world. Goebel was the violinist and director of the Musica Antiqua for the entirety of its existence. He focused his efforts with the group on unknown or seldomly performed composers, such as Johann David Heinichen and Jan Dismas Zelenka, as well as music by the masters, such as Bach and Telemann.
The group's first recording was released in 1975 with the Kölner Vocal-Consort on an FSM Aulos album of music by Alessandro Grandi. From 1977, Goebel and Musica Antiqua recorded exclusively for Archiv Produktion, beginning with an album of recorder concertos by Francesco Mancini, Domenico Natale Sarri, Francesco Barbella, and Robert Valentine. This collaboration led to an extensive catalog and numerous awards, including several Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Grand Prix International du Disque, the Prix Caecilia, two Gramophone Awards, and several Grammy nominations. In 2007, Goebel announced his retirement from violin performance due to permanent injury issues with his hands, and with his retirement came the end of Musica Antiqua. The group's final recording was a 2005 album of Telemann flute quartets.