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 joined the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in 2021, being named the twelfth music director in the orchestra’s 100+ year history. Current projects include recording projects of Dvorak and Coleridge-Taylor with Gil Shaham and Rhapsody in Blue (on banjo!) with Bela Fleck.
Eric is in his ninth season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, as he continues to pioneer the orchestra’s programming and community engagement in new and exciting directions. The 23-24 season looks forward to the return of the Resonate Festival, a unique blend of old and new orchestral and chamber works, performed in standard and more intimate concert formats.
Eric is also 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. Current projects include a multi-year Rhapsody project as well as a residency at Carnegie Hall. 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 album featuring Gil Shaham in performances of the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concertos.
A frequent guest conductor, Eric has established continuing relationships with the Colorado Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Dresden Musikfestspiele. Recent engagements also include concerts with the Omaha Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Grant Park Festival.
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 do not traditionally attend classical music concerts. Jacobsen is married to Grammy-Winner singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and together they have a daughter, Ivy Jo.