Yo-Yo Ma, perhaps the greatest cellist of our time, kicks off Caramoor’s 2022 Summer Season in a festive performance with The Knights, a trailblazing group of young musicians that has developed “a strong reputation for polished performances and imaginative programming” (The New York Times).
Leonard Bernstein: Overture to Candide
Scott Joplin (arr. The Knights): Rags
Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 1
Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta
Johannes Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Cello
Bob Haggart / Ray Bauduc (arr. Conley): The Big Noise from Winnetka
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Director and conductor
Colin Jacobsen, Artistic Director and violin
Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging in unexpected musical forms, Ma strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity. With pianist Emanuel Ax, Ma received a 2022 Grammy Award in the category of Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears.
With partners from around the world and across disciplines, he creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society. It was this belief that inspired Ma to establish Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions.
In August 2018, he began a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, in iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert is an example of culture’s power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.
Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four, and three years later, he moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology in 1976. He has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration. He plays three instruments: a 2003 cello made by Moes & Moes, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
To learn more about Yo-Yo Ma, please visit his website.
Conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative projects. As conductor of The Knights, he has led the ensemble at New York venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Central Park, and at such renowned international halls as the Vienna Musikverein, Cologne Philharmonie, and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Jacobsen, who also serves as the Music Director for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, is the newly-named Music Director of the Virginia Symphony, and is much in demand as a guest conductor, recently leading the Camerata Bern, Detroit Symphony, Alabama Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, and the Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Yo-Yo Ma.
To learn more about Eric Jacobsen, please visit his website.
Violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene” (The Washington Post). An eclectic composer who draws on a range of influences, he was named one of the top 100 Composers Under 40 by NPR listeners. He is also active as an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning soloist and has toured with the Silkroad Ensemble since its inception in 2000. For his work as a founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles — The Knights and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider — Jacobsen was selected from among the nation’s top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious and substantial United States Artists Fellowship.
To learn more about this Colin Jacobsen, please visit his website.
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 rooted in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. 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 together serve as artistic directors of The Knights, with Eric Jacobsen as conductor.
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), the orchestra has toured extensively across the United States and Europe since their founding in 2007. The Knights are celebrated globally, appearing across the world’s most prestigious stages, including those at Tanglewood Music Center, Ravinia Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Vienna Musikverein, and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. The orchestra has collaborated with many renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham.
The Knights’ 2021 – 22 season features collaborations with virtuoso pianist and composer Aaron Diehl and dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp; a new residency partnership with storied New York City venue the 92nd Street Y; and the release of a long-anticipated holiday album, The Knights Before Christmas.
To learn more about The Knights, please visit their website.
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