Eric and Colin JacobsenOn Our Show: August 18, 2012
Birth Year: 1982 and 1978
Origin: Great Neck, NY
Website: http://www.jacobseneric.com and http://www.colinjacobsen.com
About Eric and Colin Jacobsen:
Raised in a musical household, conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen and violinist Colin Jacobsen have gone on to start an orchestra, a string ensemble, and a music festival.
Eric and Colin began studying music as youngsters and later graduated from The Juilliard School. The brothers hosted informal chamber music readings in their home. From there, they formed the orchestra The Knights to bring the intimacy and camaraderie of chamber music to the orchestral stage.
Many members of The Knights bring talents that go beyond traditional orchestral skills; there are composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers with a range of cultural influences spanning from jazz and klezmer genres to pop and indie rock music.
The Knights opened the 2009 Dresden Musikfestspiele with soloist Dawn Upshaw, performed at The Caramoor Festival with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist and at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, and toured Germany last fall with cellist Jan Vogler.
Under Eric’s baton, The Knights have released two albums – Jan Vogler and The Knights, Experience Live from New York – pairs Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 and Waltzes with the music of Jimi Hendrix. New Worlds, celebrates music of the Americas, including Copland’s Appalachian Spring, along with works by Ives, Dvorak, Golijov and Gabriela Lena Frank.
Eric has collaborated with Gil Shaham and Adele Anthony in the music of Pablo de Sarasate performing at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. He has also led Camerata Bern in the first European performance of Mark O’Connor’s American Seasons, with the composer as soloist.
Eric, Colin, and their longtime friends, Johnny Gandelsman and Nick Cords came together to form Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet that has toured extensively in North America and Europe. NPR credits the adventurous, genre-defying quartet with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” Their collaboration with the Iranian Kemanche master, Kayhan Kalhor inspired their first album Silent City. The album includes arrangements and compositions by Kayhan and Colin Jacobsen. Brooklyn Rider’s second album Passport is a compilation of Armenian folk songs, arranged tunes and original compositions. The quartet also founded the Stillwater Music Festival (MN) in 2006 as a place to unveil new repertoire and collaborations.
In the summer of 2006, the members of Brooklyn Rider collectively helped to found the Stillwater Music Festival in Minnesota. The quartet presents concerts and public programs, with this summer’s festival focusing on adding guest instrumentalists to the string quartet.
Eric and Colin are also members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. Eric has participated in residencies and performances in Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland and across the USA, including The Art Institute of Chicago and The Hollywood Bowl. Colin is a 2003 Avery Disher Career Grant recipient and has toured worldwide with orchestras including Albany, Charleston, Chicago, San Francisco, Nashville and Philharmonia Baroque.
An avid educator, Eric is on the New York University faculty. He conducts the NYU Orchestras and teaches chamber music and cello. He has also led collaborative concerts with students of the Children’s Orchestra Society sitting alongside musicians from The Knights.
(All information adapted from artists’ websites. Photos by Keith Lew and Todd Rosenberg.)