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 have performed at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein.
Growing from a series of informal chamber music parties in friends’ living rooms, The Knights are led by Artistic Directors and brothers, Colin and Eric Jacobsen. 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.
In 2015, The Knights launched a partnership with BRIC with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As part of that initiative, The Knights performed with master violinist Gil Shaham on a North American tour, and on Shaham's Grammy-nominated recording of Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto. This partnership has been continued, as The Knights’ launch their first Brooklyn Home Season in 2016-17, in residence at BRIC. Each residency includes evening performances, family concerts, and engagement programs for local audiences, families, and public school students. The residencies allow The Knights to incubate their artistry and explorations at home, expanding connections within communities through music, before representing the best of Brooklyn around the globe. October saw the orchestra’s Opening Weekend, with a musical program featuring Master Peter’s Puppet Show, a multimedia concert with visual artist Kevork Mourad. December’s concerts celebrated a Brooklyn Schubertiade, showcasing local artists in an intimate salon evening of art, poetry, and music, where Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon read the world premiere of a new poem, set to music by The Knights. February’s program highlights the world premiere of a new work by Andy Akiho, winner of the 2015 Rome Prize; and April showcases mainstays of classical canon alongside new Brooklyn composers, including works by Haydn, Mozart, and Gabriel Kahane.
In addition, Spring 2017 will see the release of The Knights’ new album featuring Yo-Yo Ma on works by Osvaldo Golijov, Dvorak, and Sufjan Stevens. In March, the orchestra will debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where the orchestra will help launch the inaugural SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, co-presented by Washington Performing Arts and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Directly following the Kennedy Center appearance, The Knights travel to Europe for a residency in Aix-en- Provence, France, and performances throughout Germany including a concert at Hamburg's brand-new Elbphilharmonie.
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). 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 artform.