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 programming projects. As co-founder and conductor of the adventurous orchestra The Knights and a founding member of genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, he may take credit for helping to ensure “the future of classical music in America” (Los Angeles Times).
Eric Jacobsen is dedicated to imaginative programming and projects that invite audiences into a shared experience. As conductor of The Knights, an ensemble he co-founded with his brother Colin to bring the intimacy and camaraderie of chamber music to the orchestral stage, Mr. Jacobsen has led the orchestra in performances, tours, and recording projects. In September 2012, Mr. Jacobsen will lead The Knights in concerts with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Dawn Upshaw at the Ravinia Festival. In December 2012, Mr. Jacobsen was selected, with his brother Colin, from among the nation’s top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious United States Artists Fellowship, which carries an unrestricted grant of $50,000.
Under Mr. Jacobsen’s baton, The Knights opened the 2009 Dresden Musikfestspiele with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Osvaldo Golijov’s arrangement of Schubert songs with soloist Dawn Upshaw. Mr. Jacobsen has led concerts with Mr. Ma and The Knights at Caramoor, and has led multiple tours across Germany with The Knights and cellist Jan Vogler to standing ovations at the Cologne Philharmonie, Dusseldorf Tonhalle, and Berlin Radialsystem. This fall, The Knights will release their third album on SONY Classical with Mr. Jacobsen as conductor. As guest conductor, he has appeared with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Bern in the European premiere of Mark O'Connor’s American Seasons, with the composer as soloist.
As a cellist, Mr. Jacobsen has collaborated with Gil Shaham and Adele Anthony. He has toured worldwide as a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, with appearances in Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hollywood Bowl.
As a founding member of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Mr. Jacobsen has toured extensively in North America and Europe. An avid educator, Mr. Jacobsen is on the faculty of New York University. He conducts the NYU Orchestras and teaches chamber music and cello.