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Percussionist's hands with mallets striking percussive bowls


Silk Road Ensemble Instruments
Silk Road Ensemble musicians play a variety of instruments from around the world, some of them as simple as these percussion bowls. Some have origins in a single region; the development of others over time illustrates the interactions among cultures along the historical Silk Road.

Eric Jacobsen


"A rich controlled tone coupled with a fine sense of the music gives one the feeling he is going places."


Eric Jacobsen

Cello (United States) Cellist Eric Jacobsen, has performed extensively throughout the United States and the world as both a chamber musician and soloist. Since 2005, Jacobsen has been a member of the groundbreaking Brooklyn Rider string quartet. The group strives to explore music that goes beyond the conventional classical music canon. The quartet’s first album, Silent City, to be released in September 2008 on World Village Records, will feature a musical collaboration between the quartet and renowned Persian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. In addition to his work with Brooklyn Rider, Jacobsen regularly performs at Bargemusic, often playing with pianist Steven Beck and is also the cellist in the Mark O’Connor String Quartet, performing original works of the great American fiddler.

As a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, Jacobsen has traveled to far-flung destinations that trace the ancient Silk Road trading route, such as Baku, Azerbaijan; Switzerland; and Malaysia, where he performed for the Aga Khan. Last year he participated in residencies in Japan's National Museums in Nara and Fukuoka, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. Mr. Jacobsen has been heard on NPR programs such as Sound Check, in preparation for a concert at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, and Performance Today, where he performed four live chamber music concerts last November. In the fall of 2004, Jacobsen appeared with Renee Fleming at the opening of Zankel Hall and on the Late Show with David Letterman.

As an active soloist, Jacobsen has appeared with orchestras all around the United States. He has performed with the Chamber Soloists of Austin in Texas, the Riverside Orchestra, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, the Lake George Chamber Orchestra and the Woodstock Festival Orchestra.

Jacobsen is the founder and organizer of the Brooklyn based orchestra, The Knights. The Knights recently presented a series of concerts at New York's Bargemusic, in collaboration with flutist Paula Robison. Working with Ms. Robison, Jacobsen kicked off a Sol Lewitt exhibit at the Gardner Museum in Boston, performing the Mozart D major flute quartet in a room designed around that piece.

Jacobsen has led The Knights as a conductor. Following the success of last year’s performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony at the annual Beethoven Festival at the Planting Fields, Arboretum, Jacobsen has recently once again led an all Beethoven program, this year at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Connecticut and at the Washington Irving School in Manhattan. Jacobsen was applauded by the New York Times for being “an interpretive dynamo.”

Jacobsen has studied at The School for Strings and The Juilliard School, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree, under the guidance of Harvey Shapiro and David Soyer. He has spent summers in Salzburg, Austria; Villars, Switzerland, with Ardyth Alton; Engelberg, Switzerland; and Florence, Italy, with Harvey Shapiro; and has performed chamber music at the Lucerne Festival.

Upcoming events this season include a Sony Classical recording with The Knights and cellist Jan Vogler and conducting appearances with the Brandywine Chamber Orchestra in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Jacobsen can be heard on recordings with distinguished artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Bono, and Mark O'Connor. He appears on the Silk Road Ensemble's albums New Impossibilities and Off the Map.

Mr. Jacobsen plays a Genova cello crafted in 1740.