Brooklyn’s Knights Want Your Sound Sample

March 9, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Music Experiment Hosted by WQXR

BROOKLYN — Windsor Terrace residents Colin Jacobsen, a violinist-composer, and Eric Jacobsen, a cellist-conductor, are brothers and founding members of The Knights orchestra. The New Yorker has called them a “dynamic young Brooklyn orchestra” with “some of New York’s best strings-about-town.”

On April 3 and 4, The Knights will return to WQXR for their second performance as the station’s “ensemble in residence,” the heart of which will be an interactive experience with listeners called the Found Sound Project Competition. This is a project in which listeners, or anyone interested — educated composers or amateurs — are invited to submit audio samples to until March 16.

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One submission will be chosen for inclusion in The Knights’ April 4 performance of John Adams’ hymn-like “Christian Zeal and Activity.” This piece, the central movement of Adams’ longer 1973 work “American Standard,” instructs its conductor to incorporate within it “sonic found objects.” (The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s own recording of the work actually featured a segment of a call-in radio show.) 

“This interactive, collaborative approach to performing John Adams’ ‘Christian Zeal and Activity’ perfectly matches WQXR’s commitment to partnering and presenting classical music in distinct and innovative ways,” said WQXR Vice President Graham Parker. Along with members of the Knights, Parker will be part of the contest selection panel.

The concert on April 4 will be performed at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR, the station’s intimate event space, and will be broadcast live on 105.9 FM and If possible, an interview with the winner will accompany the concert broadcast. Further information can be found at

The program will also presents repertoire from The Knights’ U.S. tour, which takes the orchestra to nine cities in the South, Midwest and Northeast throughout April. They will also preview their new album The Knights: A Second of Silence, scheduled for release on April 3.

How the Knights Began

When they were music students in the late 1990s, Eric and Colin began regular informal chamber music readings at their home, inviting friends with shared enthusiasm for the discovery and performance of new and historical music. These gatherings turned into public recitals, and the ensemble, then called “The Knights of the Many-Sided Table,” was formed. Members of the orchestra today are composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters and improvisers who bring cultural influences from jazz and klezmer to pop and indie-rock to the group. The Knights have recorded two albums for Sony Classical.

Colin and Eric were raised in Nassau County but have long lived in Brooklyn, for many years in Carroll Gardens, and recently in Windsor Terrace. More can be learned about them and their orchestra by watching WNET’s recent documentary, We Are the Knights, which features interviews with Colin, Eric, “Performance Today” radio host Fred Child and frequent collaborator Yo-Yo Ma ( The brothers are also members of the cutting-edge quartet Brooklyn Rider.

— Compiled by C. McNamara

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