The Knights are a collective of adventurous musicians, dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience and eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. Through adventurous programming, unbridled energy, and a collaborative music-making process, The Knights bring classical music to life in a way that surprises and inspires both new and longtime listeners.
Since their inception in New York City in the early 2000s, The Knights have challenged assumptions about orchestral music. The ensemble grew out of informal chamber music readings at the home of brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen — now the group’s Artistic Directors — and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2007. The 36 members of The Knights are graduates of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and other leading music schools and conservatories. They are accomplished soloists, orchestral players, and chamber musicians as well as composers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers who bring a range of cultural influences to the group.
The Knights’ notable accomplishments include a 2017 Grammy Award nomination for a recording with violinist Gil Shaham; a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater as part of the NY Philharmonic Biennial; a debut at Carnegie Hall in the New York premiere of Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s opera The Classical Style; a U.S. tour with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck; a European tour with soprano Dawn Upshaw, including the group’s debut at Vienna’s Musikverein; a debut at the Kennedy Center, as part of the inaugural SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras; frequent festival appearances at Ravinia, Caramoor, Big Ears, and Tanglewood; and nine years of free summer performances at Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, Bryant Park, and BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park.
In recent years, The Knights have collaborated and toured with world-renowned musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Lise de la Salle, Joshua Redman, Silk Road virtuoso Siamak Aghaei, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The group has also collaborated with artists coming from a wide range of artistic disciplines including the Mark Morris Dance Group, visual artist Kevork Mourad, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. Their most recent album, Azul, featured the world premiere recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s work Azul with soloist Yo-Yo Ma.