“… 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.”


Just 40 years old and 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 is 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. As conductor, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at venues throughout New York City and surrounding areas, at major summer festivals, and on tour nationally and internationally. 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 featuring Gil Shaham in performances of the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concertos.

Eric is also Music Director of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, continuing to pioneer both orchestra’s programming and community engagement in new and exciting directions.

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 don’t traditionally attend classical music concerts. Jacobsen is married to Grammy-winning, singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and they have a five-year-old daughter, Ivy Jo.