Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

The Knights chamber orchestra to perform ‘Music from the Great War Era’ Oct. 1 at Esber Recital Hall

The Knights, called a “talented and vivacious Brooklyn indie orchestra” by the New York Times, will perform “Music from the Great War Era” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in Esber Recital Hall. The program will include compositions created mostly between 1914 and 1924 by Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Ernest Bloch, Anton Webern and Caroline Shaw.

The group’s visit to Penn State also features no-cost engagement events, including a Classical Coffeehouse, for students and the public.

Purchase tickets, which are $42 for an adult, $19 for a University Park student and $32 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

The flexible-sized orchestra, with a roster at Penn State of 11 musicians (two violinists, violist, cellist, double bassist, clarinetist, bassoonist, trumpeter, trombonist, percussionist and pianist) is scheduled to perform Prokofiev’s “Overture on Hebrew Themes,” Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor, Anton Webern’s Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano, Bloch’s “Prayer” for cello and piano, Caroline Shaw’s arrangement of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Tierkreies: Leo” and Stravinsky’s Suite from “The Solder’s Tale.”

Brothers Colin (composer and violinist) and Eric Jacobsen (conductor and cellist) — orchestra founders and co-artistic directors  — grew up with music. One parent was a flute teacher, the other a Metropolitan Opera orchestra violinist. When they studied at The Juilliard School, the brothers hosted open-music evenings and amassed an orchestra of friends and classmates that became The Knights. The orchestra seeks to transform how audiences experience classical music and to reinvigorate music listening as a social event.

In addition to performing with The Knights, the Jacobsens are members of Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet that performed at Penn State in April. They’re also touring members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, a collective that celebrates the music of Asia, India and the Mediterranean Sea region. The Jacobsens received a United States Artists Fellowship in 2012.

Earlier this year, The Knights released a seventh album, “The Ground Beneath Our Feet,” recorded live at Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C.

The orchestra has collaborated with soprano Dawn Upshaw, banjo player Béla Fleck, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, fiddler Mark O’Connor, flutist Paula Robinson and other noteworthy musicians. The ensemble has performed at Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, National Gallery in Dublin, the Dresden Musical Festival and many other venues.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring The Knights’ co-artistic director and cellist Eric Jacobsen, violinist Ariana Kim and violist Max Mandel, is offered in Esber one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Speakers are subject to change.

Complimentary parking for the performance will be offered at the Eisenhower Parking Deck, and complimentary wheelchair-accessible shuttle service will be provided from the parking deck to Esber.

This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.

Bob and Ruth Murray sponsor the concert. WPSU is the media sponsor.

Related no-cost Classical Coffeehouse

The Knights will perform and discuss selected music in an informal setting at Classical Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall. Complimentary refreshments are provided. Attendees receive a Classical Coffeehouse mug, while supply lasts. Each Penn State student in attendance receives—at the end of the coffeehouse—a voucher for a serving of Berkey Creamery ice cream.

Classical Coffeehouse is presented in partnership with the Blue & White Society and the Penn State Alumni Association. Penn State Council of LionHearts also provides support.

Learn more about The Knights and engagement activities