The Knights are a collective of adventurous musicians dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience and eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. The orchestra has toured and recorded with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein.
The Knights evolved from late-night chamber music reading parties with friends at the home of violinist Colin Jacobsen and cellist Eric Jacobsen. The Jacobsen brothers, who are also founding members of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, serve as artistic directors of The Knights, with Eric Jacobsen as conductor. The Knights are committed to creating unusual and adventurous partnerships across disciplines; they perform in traditional concert halls as well as parks, plazas, and bars, all in an effort to reach listeners of all backgrounds and invite them into their music-making. Since incorporating in 2007, the orchestra has toured consistently across the United States and Europe.
Counted among the highlights from recent seasons are: a performance with Yo-Yo Ma at Caramoor; the recording of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto on master violinist Gil Shaham’s Grammy-nominated 2016 release, 1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2, as well as a North American tour with Shaham; residencies at Dartmouth, Penn State and Washington DC’s Dumbarton Oaks; and a performance in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL along with the San Francisco Girls Chorus (led by composer Lisa Bielawa) and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which featured world premieres by Rome Prize-winner Bielawa, Pulitzer Prize-winner Aaron Jay Kernis, and Knights violinist and co-founder Colin Jacobsen. The ensemble made its Carnegie Hall debut in the New York premiere of the Steven Stucky/Jeremy Denk opera The Classical Style, and has toured the U.S. with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and Europe with soprano Dawn Upshaw and mandolinist Avi Avital. In recent years The Knights have also collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Joshua Redman, Silk Road virtuoso Siamak Aghaei, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. Recordings include 2015’s “instinctive and appealing” (The Times, UK) the ground beneath our feet on Warner Classics, featuring the ensemble’s first original group composition; an all-Beethoven disc on Sony Classical (their third project with the label); and 2012’s “smartly programmed” (NPR) A Second of Silence for Ancalagon.
The Knights are proud to be known as “one of Brooklyn’s sterling cultural products…known far beyond the borough for their relaxed virtuosity and expansive repertory” (The New Yorker). Their roster boasts musicians of remarkably diverse talents, including composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers, who bring a range of cultural influences to the group, from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie rock music. The unique camaraderie within the group retains the intimacy and spontaneity of chamber music in performance. Through the palatable joy and friendship in their music-making, each musician strives to include new and familiar audiences to experience this important art form.
The Orlando Philharmonic seeks to be the wellspring of music in Central Florida–nourishing the soul of the community with music that speaks to, and sometimes for, each person. Accordingly, the hallmark of the orchestra is versatility. It strives for artistic excellence and thrives on diversity in genre, in programming, in collaboration, in audiences, and in the musicians themselves. Each season embarks on another musical adventure, where orchestra and audiences together are challenged by grand masterworks, intrigued by imaginative concert formats, inspired in enthusiastic youth programs, stretched by demanding chamber works, illuminated by fresh composition, and energized by engaging pops.
2019-2020 will mark Eric Jacobsen's 5th year as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic. The season will include two new initiatives: Inside the Score, featuring an in-depth exploration of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and Resonate, featuring Mozart paired with new orchestral works on the first half, and an intimate chamber performance on the second half.
The Greater Bridgeport Symphony process actually began in the 1930s, during the Great Depression when music pulsated from a State Street building next to City Hall, where Frank Foti conducted the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Symphony Orchestra, formed for unemployed musicians who previously played at local theatres. Currently GBS presents five subscription concerts per season, but this is only the most visible sign of their presence in the Greater Bridgeport community. An essential part of their mission is education. Eric Jacobsen and Concertmaster Debbie Wong regularly perform for students in local schools, engaging them in conversation about the relevancy of symphonic music in their lives.
The 2019-2020 season marks Eric Jacobsen's 6th year as Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Season highlights include a performance and recording with master musicians Sandeep Das, table, Kayhan Kahlor.kamancheh, and Karen Ouzounian, cello; and “Telling Tales,” featuring Sarah Shafer and Jazimina MacNeil in a re-imagining of Dvorak’s Moravian Duets.
On his time with Brooklyn Rider, Eric Jacobsen comments:
“Brooklyn Rider has been one of the greatest relationships of my life. Within its parameters, I matured as a musician, colleague, and human. After 10 years and 1000 performances, I still love and look up to my brother Colin and my musical brothers Nick and Johnny. Though leaving the quartet is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever grappled with, it’s made easier knowing that Michael Nicolas will take over. I remember being wowed by him years ago when we were freshmen together at Juilliard, and my respect for him has only grown.
I have always tried to create micro-worlds that could thrive: Brooklyn Rider is, I hope, its own fertile ecosystem of creation and joy and stylistic innovation. I know that if this standard of dedication is what I want to expend, I need to focus my gaze and commit fully to being a Music/Artistic Director and Conductor. I look forward to continuing my deep friendships and musical relationships with Nick and Johnny. And even if he does continue to steal my socks, I will always play music with my brother."