The Knights are an orchestra of friends from a broad spectrum of the New York music world who cultivate collaborative music making and creatively engage audiences in the shared joy of musical performance. Led by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they expand the orchestral concert experience with programs that encompass their roots in the Classical tradition and their passion for musical discovery.
Praised for their "polished performances and imaginative programming" (New York Times) The Knights are an orchestra of friends from a broad spectrum of the New York music world who cultivate collaborative music making and creatively engage audiences in the shared joy of musical performance. For their inspired programming that encompass their roots in the classical tradition with their passion for musical discovery, The Knights have been hailed as "the future of classical music in America" (Los Angeles Times).
The Knights 2012-2013 season began with a return to the Ravinia Festival, where the orchestra was joined by three classical music superstars–cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman and soprano Dawn Upshaw–in three concerts that concluded the prestigious festival. Other season highlights for The Knights include the release of an all-Beethoven disc for Sony Classical, their third project with the label, and a U.S. tour with pipa virtuoso Wu Man in February, making stops in Madison, Austin, Houston, and Southern California. In May, The Knights travel to Berlin to team up again with American composer Lisa Bielawa for "Tempelhof Broadcast," leading hundreds of musicians in a large-scale spatial/acoustic work to be performed on the tarmac of the former Tempelhof Airport (now Tempelhofer Park), site of the Berlin Airlift in 1948. In December 2012, Artistic Directors Colin Jacobsen and Eric Jacobsen were selected from among the nation's top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious United States Artists Fellowship.
Recent season highlights include appearances at Ravinia, Central Park and the 92nd Street Y, a tour of Germany, and their first U.S. tour. The Knights also launched the Ensemble-in-Residence program at New York Public Radio's WQXR. We Are The Knights, a documentary film produced by WNET/Thirteen, made its broadcast debut in September 2011 and was rebroadcast nationwide throughout the year. In April 2012, the ensemble released A Second in Silence on Ancalagon, a "smartly programmed" (NPR) album.The Knights can also be heard on the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's film Twixt.
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 Brooklyn Rider, serve as artistic directors of The Knights, with Eric Jacobsen as conductor. The unique camaraderie within the orchestra retains the intimacy and spontaneity of chamber music in performance.