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The Knights
with Pekka Kuusisto

Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Friday July 28, 2023 at 8:00pm

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Friday July 28, 2023 at 8:00pm

The Knights are dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience and eliminating barriers between audience and music. The New York Times has described them as “an adventurous young orchestra that has established a strong reputation for polished performances and imaginative programming.” The ensemble performs the New York premiere of Nico Muhly’s Shrink with Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, described as “one-of-a-kind” by Toronto’s The Globe and Mail and renowned for his fresh approach to repertoire.

7:00pm / Join us for a conversation with Eric Jacobsen, Colin Jacobsen, Pekka Kuusisto, and Nico Muhly.

Garden Listening / For those who prefer a more casual concert environment, Garden Listening tickets are $20, and are free for Members and children under 18 years old. Listen to the concert broadcast onto Friends Field (audio only) while enjoying a picnic, admiring a starry sky, or relaxing with the family. We recommend you bring your own seating for Garden Listening.

Summer Season Shuttle / Take the FREE shuttle from Metro North’s Katonah train station to and from Caramoor! The shuttle runs before and after every summer afternoon and evening concert. No need to RSVP to get on the shuttle, it will be there when you arrive (in the parking lot side of the station). And if it’s not there, that means that it just left and will be back in 5-10 minutes!

“Muhly’s Shrink, a glittering, jittery, mischievous violin concerto written for Kuusisto … The work reflects its title, contracting and intensifying as it progresses, a perfect mirror of the word “shrink” and a platform for Kuusisto in hyperactive, virtuosic mode …” — The Guardian

Felix Mendelssohn: String Symphony No. 10 in B Minor
Nico Muhly: Shrink (NY Premiere)
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
Colin Jacobsen: A Shadow Under Every Light

Learn More About the Artists

Eric Jacobsen, conductor

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.  

Jacobsen 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” (The 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. 

Jacobsen 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. 

He 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-Winner singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and they have a five-year-old daughter, Ivy Jo. 

To learn more about Eric Jacobsen, please visit his website (jacobseneric.com). 

Pekka Kuusisto, violin

Violinist, conductor, and composer Pekka Kuusisto is renowned for his artistic freedom and fresh approach to repertoire. Kuusisto is Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Co-Director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2023–24 season. He is also Artistic Partner with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a Collaborative Partner of the San Francisco Symphony, and Artistic Best Friend of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. 

An advocate of contemporary music, he recently performed the world premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Violin Concerto with HR Sinfonieorchester, and later with the Philharmonia, San Francisco Symphony orchestras, and Orchestre de Paris. He performed the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ Märchentänze for violin and orchestra with the Finnish Radio Symphony orchestra and later with Barcelona Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony and Danish Radio Symphony orchestras. He recently premiered works by Sauli Zinovjev, Daníel Bjarnason, Anders Hillborg, Philip Venables and Andrea Tarrodi. 

As a soloist, Kuusisto debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony orchestras and returns to orchestras such as Cleveland, Cincinnati Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Philharmonia. He is Sinfonieorchester Basel’s Artist in Residence. 

As a conductor, highlights include the Helsinki Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras, the Concertgebouworkest, and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. 

Kuusisto recently released his first album as conductor, partnering with Vilde Frang and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen presenting the Stravinsky and Beethoven Concerti (Warner Classics), and the world premiere recording of Thomas Adès Märchentänze for violin and orchestra (Ondine) with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Nicholas Collon.  

Kuusisto plays the Antonio Stradivari Golden Period c.1709 ‘Scotta’ violin, generously loaned by a patron through Tarisio. 

The Knights

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. The orchestra has toured and recorded with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and has appeared across the world’s most prestigious stages, including those at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Ravinia, The Kennedy Center, and the Vienna Musikverein. 

The Knights evolved from late-night chamber music reading parties with friends at the home of violinist Colin Jacobsen and cellist Eric Jacobsen. The Jacobsen brothers, who are also founding members of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, serve as artistic directors of The Knights, with Eric Jacobsen as conductor. Since incorporating in 2007, the orchestra has toured consistently across the United States and Europe. 

The Knights seek to share music with a broad general public regardless of background, and the group designs programs to appeal to both loyal followers and new listeners alike. The Knights perform in traditional concert halls as well as in parks, plazas, and bars, and create unusual and adventurous partnerships across disciplines. Counted among recent highlights are fully-staged performances of Bernstein’s Candide at both Tanglewood and Ravinia; the release of a recording of the Brahms and Beethoven Violin Concertos with Gil Shaham; and a full 2021 summer season in a reawakened New York City, with performances at Central Parks’ Naumburg Bandshell, Bryant Park, Governors Island, and Green-Wood Cemetery. 

The orchestra seeks out and prioritizes collaborative partnerships with artists often underrepresented in classical music. Recent seasons have included performances with Brooklyn-based Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, with African musicians as part of William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load, and with a diverse group of contemporary composers and performers including Vijay Iyer, Kinan Azmeh, Angélica Negrón, and Jessie Montgomery, among others. 

The centerpiece of The Knights’ 2022-23 season is an 11-stop European tour with dynamic violinist Ray Chen, October 25 to November 6. The Knights also perform with longtime presenter partners closer to home, including the Clark Art Institute, the Ravinia Festival, Temple Emanu-El, and more. Artistic collaborators in the 2022-23 season include 2022 Grammy-winning countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and genre-shattering pianist/composer Aaron Diehl, with whom The Knights will release an album of Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite in 2023.  

The Knights are proud to be known as “one of Brooklyn’s sterling cultural products…known far beyond the borough for their relaxed virtuosity and expansive repertory” (The New Yorker). Their roster boasts musicians of remarkably diverse talents, including composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers, who bring a range of cultural influences to the group, from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie rock music. The unique camaraderie within the group retains the intimacy and spontaneity of chamber music in performance. Through the palatable joy and friendship in their music-making, each musician strives to include new and familiar audiences to experience this important art form.  

To learn more about The Knights, please visit their website (theknightsnyc.com). 

Health & Safety / We’re committed to maintaining the health and safety of our audience, artists, and staff, while ensuring that every visit to Caramoor is comfortable and enjoyable. Click here for more information and up-to-date health and safety policies.

This concert is made possible, in part, by funding from The Amphion Foundation.

Caramoor is proud to be a grantee of ArtsWestchester with funding made possible by Westchester County government with the support of County Executive George Latimer.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.