He was soon generally recognized as one of the most skillful organists of his time. The success of his comic opera, Il Filosofo convinto in amore, performed at Potsdam in 1750, led to an appointment as court composer to Frederick the Great. In 1759, on the death of Karl Heinrich Graun, he was appointed conductor of the royal orchestra. He married the noted operatic soprano Benedetta Emilia Molteni, a marriage of which the king apparently disapproved. He died in Berlin.
Agricola wrote a number of Italian operas, as well as Lieder, chorale preludes, various other keyboard pieces and church music, especially oratorios and cantatas. His reputation chiefly rests, however, on his theoretical and critical writings on musical subjects. In 1754 he jointly wrote an obituary of J. S. Bach with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. His 1757 Anleitung zur Singekunst (translated as Introduction to the Art of Singing) is Pier Francesco Tosi's 1723 treatise Opinioni de' cantori antichi e moderni with Agricola's own extensive comments.
NB: The surname Agricola is almost always a Latin translation of one of these Germanic surnames: Bauer, Schneider, Schnitter, Hausmann, Huusman, Huysman.