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(Re)Envisioning the Orchestra: An Interview with Eric Jacobsen, Conductor and Founding Cellist of The Knights

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If you have been visiting Polyphonic.org over the past couple of months, you’ve probably seen the announcement of the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research that has been established as part of the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership. More specifically Center is now part of the Orchestra Musicians Forum and its website Polyphonic.org. You also may have read that the Center is dedicated to fostering scholarship about our rapidly changing musical world, as well as helping musicians respond to the changes in their musical landscape. We are witnessing the emergence of alternative ensembles, but alternative to what? Well, it turns out mostly alternative to the typical orchestral business model. These new emerging ensembles, because of their size and budgets have the luxury to “Think Different.” Beginning this fall Polyphonic.org will begin spotlighting some of these alternative ensembles and looking at things like: their mission, culture, leadership, programming, structure, and financial growth. What can these fledgling ensembles take from the orchestral world and build upon, and conversely what can orchestras learn from alternative ensembles?

One of the groups we plan to spotlight is The Knights, and this brings me to my Editors Choice for this month.  This interview with Eric Jacobsen, conductor, cellist and founding member of the ensemble was first published by Polyphonic in April 2010.  It recounts the establishment of The Knights and describes how the orchestra gradually emerged from a group of friends reading chamber music into a critically-acclaimed ensemble. Click here to read. And look for our Spotlights on Alternative Ensembles coming this fall.

For more information about Eric Jacobsen and The Knights, please visit: http://www.theknightsnyc.com/ and http://www.jacobseneric.com/

Ramon Ricker

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