“… Mr. Jacobsen was an interpretive dynamo.”

The New York Times

“{The Knights with Eric Jacobsen] playfully combine early music with avant garde, great classics with world music — consistently blowing away audiences because this mix is simply irresistibly refined.”

Hamburger Adenblatt

“In the first movement, the contrast… between the breadth and the power of the orchestral exposition and the incredible lightness in the development is negotiated with mastery.”


“The orchestral playing is particularly impressive: The Knights, under the baton of Eric Jacobsen, provide both a strong force and subtle sensitive moments… The orchestra gives strength in characters, glowing and shimmering… full of ever-changing virtuosic prowess.”


“The Knights, an ensemble that loves to share and open doors of musical exploration for audiences, has reached, with its director Eric Jacobsen, a level of ambition and sound perfection that is, again, unparalleled. Unforgettable, was the comment one could overhear everywhere when leaving the concert hall. We agree and confirm!”

Destimed (France)

“…As a conductor, Jacobsen never upstaged the music. He used graceful, sweeping motions or small, precise strokes for trickier passages. But there was nothing flashy about his direction; he appeared perfectly content to let featured musicians keep the momentum going when appropriate.”

Orlando Sentinel

“In the second movement [of Beethoven’s symphony no. 7] Jacobsen knows how to effectively approach the Funeral March and then give a sample of the ensemble’s potential in the following Presto…Jan Vogler and the Knights were in their quintessential element and caused thundering applause.”


Already well-established as one of classical music’s most exciting and innovative young conductors, Eric Jacobsen combines fresh interpretations of the traditional canon with cutting-edge collaborations across musical genres. Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” Eric, as both a conductor and a cellist, has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative programming.

Eric joined the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in 2021, being named the twelfth music director in the orchestra’s 100+ year history. Current projects include recording projects of Dvorak and Coleridge-Taylor with Gil Shaham and Rhapsody in Blue (on banjo!) with Béla Fleck.

Eric is in his ninth season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, as he continues to pioneer the orchestra’s programming and community engagement in new and exciting directions. The 23-24 season looks forward to the return of the Resonate Festival, a unique blend of old and new orchestral and chamber works, performed in standard and more intimate concert formats.

Eric is also artistic director and co-founder of The Knights, the uniquely adventurous NYC-based chamber orchestra. The ensemble, founded with his brother, violinist Colin Jacobsen, grew out of late-night music reading parties with friends, good food and drink, and conversation. Current projects include a multi-year Rhapsody project as well as a residency at Carnegie Hall. Under Jacobsen’s baton, The Knights have developed an extensive recording collection, which includes the critically acclaimed albums Azul, with longtime collaborator Yo-Yo Ma, as well as a recent album featuring Gil Shaham in performances of the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concertos.

A frequent guest conductor, Eric has established continuing relationships with the Colorado Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Dresden Musikfestspiele. Recent engagements also include concerts with the Omaha Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Grant Park Festival.

Eric brings joy, storytelling, and a touch of humor to what he describes as “musical conversations” that delight audiences around the world, including those who do not traditionally attend classical music concerts. Jacobsen is married to Grammy-Winner singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and together they have a daughter.