Reinhard Goebel has established himself, as both a violinist and conductor, as one of the leading exponents of Baroque historical performance practice.
After studying violin at the Cologne Conservatory with Franzjosef Maier, then at the Folkwangschule in Essen with Saschko Gawriloff, he trained under Eduard Melkus and Marie Leonhardt. In 1973, after pursuing musicology studies for several years at Cologne University, he founded the instrumental ensemble Musica Antiqua Köln, initially made up of fellow students from the Cologne Conservatory. Since that time, he has performed with the ensemble as both soloist and director. In 1979, the ensemble gained an international reputation with its debut at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall during the annual English Bach Festival. After unexplained paralysis struck his right hand, Goebel abandoned his career as a solo violinist, although he continued to play with his group, bowing the violin with his left hand. Goebel has an extensive discography for Archiv Produktion and has helped revive interest in the music of several previously under-performed German composers of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Heinichen, Schmelzer, Biber, and members of the Bach family. His recordings have won numerous awards: the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis in 1981 and 1982 (for chamber concertos by Telemann and German Chamber Music Before Bach, respectively); the Grand Prix International du Disque in 1987 (for The Bach Family Before Johann Sebastian); the Grand Prix National du Disque in 1984 (for Couperin's Les Nations); the Gramophone Award in 1984 (for chamber music by J.S. Bach); and the CD Compact Award in 1990 (for Telemann's Tafelmusik). Goebel's recording of Heinichen's Dresden Concerti won five important awards: the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik in 1993, the Gramophone Award in 1993, the Prix Caecilia in 1993, the Schallplattenpreis Echo-Klassik in 1994, and the CD Compact Award in 1994. As Goebel and MAK continued their work into the new century, it seemed as though they only got better, with outstanding new recordings of Biber's Missa Salisburgensis, Telemann, and two additional volumes of Bachiana. But in 2006, Goebel abruptly announced that he had developed trouble in his left hand, and was retiring from Musica Antiqua Köln. A final, farewell tour was set up for the United States, but Goebel was present for only part of it, the difficulty in his hand being so severe that it sent him home to Germany early.
Conducting kept him busy and he appeared on efforts such as Oboe Concerti at the Dresden Court (2008) and 111 More Classic Tracks (2010).