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.