Eric Jacobsen earns thunderous applause for “Scheherazade”

Eric Jacobsen
Freeline Media Orlando

As the lights rose inside the Bob Carr Theater at the conclusion of a performance of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and the crowd began to leave, a middle aged man leaned over to his wife and said, “What a great concert.”
 “What did you think about him?” the wife asked.“The best I’ve seen,” the man responded.
 The “him” that she was referring to was Eric Jacobsen, the guest conductor who led OPO through the performance on Saturday night of “Scheherazade.” It was, as virtually everyone in the nearly sold out crowd understood, not just a performance by a conductor leading his musicians, but also a very high profile job application. As the OPO continues its search for a new conductor, Jacobsen is one of three finalists, noted David Schillhammer, the executive director of OPO.

At the same time, Schillhammer added, the OPOD’s performance of “Scheherazade” — the name of the legendary Persian queen and the storyteller of “One Thousand and One Nights” — was very much Jacobsen’s baby. A conductor and cellist, Jacobsen is the co-founder and music director of The Knights orchestra and a founding member of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider.
 In the 2014-2015 season, Jacobsen was named the principal conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony.
If anyone in the audience did not want to fill out the survey that evening, he added, they could visit the OPO’s website.
“You can go online and fill it out there,” Schillhammer added. “There are multiple ways to be involved. We welcome your input.”
Then he introduced the conductor and added, “I’ll let the music just speak for itself. Eric Jacobsen is one of the most gifted cellists in the world. We are delighted to have him here. It’s a great honor for all of us.”Jacobsen said he was thrilled to have this opportunity.
“I’m so happy to be in Orlando,” he said. “I’ve done so many fun things here,” including working with music students at Howard Middle School, who he said were a joy to perform with.
“And the most fun,” he added, “was playing here tonight.”
The “Scheherazade” concert was enhanced as well by the performance of Wu Man, the Grammy Award nominated musician who is a soloist, educator and composer from China. She performed the pipa, a lute-like instrument.
“It’s very much like Chinese bluegrass music,” she said
By the end of the two-hour long concert, the OPO, Jacobsen and Man brought down the house in thunderous applause — indicating that Jacobsen is likely to be a tough act to follow. Read the rest of the review here