Thank you for a great 2016 Summer Concert Series!
Check out some of the highlights from our 2016 series in our news page, including footage from our June concert with The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, featuring Nobuyuki Tsujii on piano.
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July 11 @ 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Colin & Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Directors,
Henry Purcell, (1659-95), Fantasia Upon One Note, (1680)
John Adams, (1947-), Common Tones in Simple Time, (1979)
Judd Greenstein, (1979-), New Work for Flute and Orchestra, (World Premiere co-commissioned by Naumburg & The Knights)
Alex Sopp, Flute
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550, (1788)
I. Molto allegro
III. Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai
**The performance of The Knights has been made possible by a generous grant from the MacDonald Peterson Foundation.**
WQXR HOST: Terrance McKnight
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 been proud to tour and record with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and has performed at such prestigious institutions as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein. Through adventurous programming, unbridled energy, and a collaborative music-making process, The Knights bring classical music to life in a way that surprises and inspires both new and longtime listeners.
Since their inception in New York City in the early 2000s, The Knights have challenged assumptions about orchestral music. The ensemble grew out of informal chamber music readings at the home of brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen — now the group’s Artistic Directors — and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2007. The 36 members of The Knights are graduates of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and other leading music schools and conservatories. They are accomplished soloists, orchestral players, and chamber musicians as well as composers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers who bring a range of cultural influences to the group.
The Knights’ notable accomplishments include a 2017 Grammy Award nomination for a recording with master violinist Gil Shaham; a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater as part of the NY Phil Biennial; The Knights’ debut at Carnegie Hall in the New York premiere of Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s opera The Classical Style; a U.S. tour with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck; a European tour with soprano Dawn Upshaw, including the group’s debut at Vienna’s Musikverein; residencies at Dartmouth, Penn State, and Washington, D.C.’s Dumbarton Oaks; frequent festival appearances at Ravinia, Caramoor, Big Ears, and Tanglewood; and nine years of free summer performances at Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, Bryant Park, and BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park.
In recent years, The Knights have collaborated and toured with world-renowned musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Lise de la Salle, Joshua Redman, Silk Road virtuoso Siamak Aghaei, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The group has also collaborated with artists coming from a wide range of artistic disciplines including the Mark Morris Dance Group, visual artist Kevork Mourad, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. 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 Records (their third project with the label); and 2012’s “smartly programmed” (NPR) A Second of Silence for Ancalagon.
Spring 2017 saw the release of The Knights’ new album Azul, featuring the world premiere recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s work Azul with soloist Yo-Yo Ma. In April, The Knights debuted at the Kennedy Center, as part of the inaugural SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras. The Knights then embarked on a European tour, beginning with a week-long residency at France’s Easter Festival in Aix-en-Provence, where they performed with renowned musicians including violinist Renaud Capuçon, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and pianist Bertrand Chamayou. The Knights were then joined by pipa virtuoso Wu Man on tour through Germany, including a performance in Hamburg’s newly opened Elbphilharmonie. The tour was met with tremendous praise from both critics and audiences. Learn more at theknightsnyc.com.
Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Director
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. Jacobsen is the founder and Artistic Director The Knights and a founding member of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider. As conductor of The Knights, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at New York venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Central Park, and at renowned international halls such as the Vienna Musikverein and Cologne Philharmonie. In the 2015-16 season, Jacobsen celebrates his inaugural season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and his second season as both Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and Artistic Partner with the Northwest Sinfonietta. Also in demand as a guest conductor, Jacobsen has recently led the Camerata Bern, the Detroit Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.
Colin Jacobsen, Artistic Director
As The Washington Post observes, violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene.” A founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights – he is also a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Project and an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning violinist. Jacobsen’s work as a composer developed as a natural outgrowth of his chamber and orchestral collaborations. Jointly inspired by encounters with leading exponents of non-western traditions and by his own classical heritage, his most recent compositions for Brooklyn Rider include “Three Miniatures” – “vivacious, deftly drawn sketches” (New York Times) – which were written for the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic art galleries. Jacobsen collaborated with Iran’s Siamak Aghaei to write a Persian folk-inflected composition, “Ascending Bird,” which he performed as soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, in a concert that was streamed live by millions of viewers worldwide. His work for dance and theater includes Chalk and Soot, a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham, and music for Compagnia de’ Colombari’s theatrical production of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.