Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative projects. As co-founder and Artistic Director of the adventurous orchestra The Knights and a founding member of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Jacobsen, along with his brother, violinist Colin Jacobsen, was awarded a prestigious United States Artists Fellowship in 2012. In the 2015-16 season, Jacobsen celebrates his inaugural season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and his second season both as Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and Artistic Partner with the Northwest Sinfonietta.
Jacobsen founded The Knights with his brother, Colin, to foster the intimacy and camaraderie of chamber music on the orchestral stage; as the New Yorker reports, “few ensembles are as adept at mixing old music with new as the dynamic young Brooklyn orchestra.” As Music Director, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Ojai Music Festival, and international hot spots such as the Dresden Musikfestspiele and Cologne Philharmonie. Recent collaborators include cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Jan Vogler, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, and singers Dawn Upshaw, and Susan Graham.
Under Jacobsen’s baton, The Knights have an extensive recording collection that includes the ground beneath our feet, the ensemble’s first release for Warner Classics. Most recently a collaboration with Gil Shaham for Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 was released. The Knights previously issued three albums for Sony Classical- Jan Vogler and The Knights Experience: Live from New York, New Worlds, and all-Beethoven album partnering the Triple Concerto and Fifth Symphony- and the “smartly programmed” (NPR) A Second in Silence on the Ancalagon label. We Are The Knights, a documentary film produced by Thirteen/WNET, premiered in September 2011.
At the close of a successful debut season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Jacobsen has already started a new trend in programing and community engagement. A particularly well received Mozart Magic Flute led to programming two opera productions in the 16-17 season with inventive directors Alison Moritz and Mary Birnbaum. Emanuel Ax and Steven Copes will be guests in a season based around Russian Masterworks and the celebration of American composer John Adams’ 70th birthday.
Also in demand as a guest conductor, Jacobsen has led and will lead the Camerata Bern, the symphonies Detroit and Alabama, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, and Silk Road Ensemble, besides touring with The Knights in the U.S. and Europe. A dedicated chamber musician, Jacobsen is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Project and as a founding member of Brooklyn Rider, he has taken part in a wealth of world premieres and toured extensively in North America and Europe.