The Knights are an orchestral collective, flexible in size and repertory, dedicated to transforming the concert experience. Engaging listeners and defying boundaries with programs that showcase the players’ roots in the classical tradition and passion for musical discovery, The Knights have, as the New Yorker observes, “become one of Brooklyn’s sterling cultural products, [and] are known far beyond the borough for their relaxed virtuosity and expansive repertory.”
The Knights’ 2014-15 season kicks off with a performance at Brooklyn’s Roulette, marking the first of a series of New York City residencies to be undertaken by the group over the next three seasons with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other highlights include the Caramoor Fall Festival, where The Knights serve as curators and give three performances featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman and violinist Gil Shaham; the ensemble’s debut at Carnegie Hall in the New York premiere of the Steven Stucky/Jeremy Denk opera The Classical Style; a collaboration with The National’s Bryce Dessner, broadcast on WNYC’s New Sounds Live; and a residency at the University of Georgia. In the new year, The Knights tour the East Coast with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck before embarking on a European tour with soprano Dawn Upshaw, featuring performances in Salzburg, Baden-Baden, Darmstadt, and at Vienna’s legendary Musikverein.
Recent season highlights include The Knights’ debut at the Tanglewood and Ojai Music Festivals, and collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw, Jeremy Denk, the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Joshua Redman Quartet, santur player Siamak Aghaei, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and the creation of the ensemble’s first original group composition. Recordings include an all-Beethoven disc released in January 2013 by Sony Classical (their third project with the label), and 2012’s “smartly programmed” (NPR) A Second of Silence for Ancalagon.
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. In December 2012, the Jacobsens were selected from among the nation’s top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious United States Artists Fellowship.
The Knights’ roster boasts 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.
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