Our Conductor: Eric Jacobsen
our conductor: eric jacobsen
After a year-long nationwide search, acclaimed cellist Eric Jacobsen was named conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony in May 2014. Eric's premiere concert in December 2013 was threatened by a freak snowstorm that nearly scuttled the concert; the choral group scheduled for that night cancelled, and only about 250 people braved the weather to attend. Eric's optimistic spirit did more than make the best of a bad situation; improvising with limited resources, he presented a smashing concert that confirmed in the minds of audience and musicians alike that he was the right person to fill the shoes of outgoing Music Director Gustav Meier. He made his debut as GBS Principal Conductor at the Barnum Festival Skyblast Concert at Seaside Park in Bridgeport in June 2014, concluding the concert with the now traditional 1812 Overture opening the annual fireworks.
In his inaugural season, 2014-15, Eric electrified our audience, bringing to The Klein such performers as Gabriel Kahane, Sara Watkins, and Johnny Gandelsman to perform with GBS. He also introduced his Bridgeport audience to his then-fiancee - now his wife - singer-songwriter Aoife O'Donovan in December 2014. See Eric and Aoife perform on CT Style, WTNH, March 2017.
His second season in Bridgeport focused on the classics, beginning with Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique in September 2015, and closing with Stravinsky's Firebird Suite in April 2016. Eric continued to thrill the audience in the 2016-17 (From Bach to Bernstein), 2017-18 (Revolutions and Revelations) and 2018-19 (Season in Space) season with brilliant renditions of Dvorak, La Boheme, Bernstein Sibelius, Schumann, Gershwin, Joplin, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and many others. "He's a shining stair, and he’s with us, right here in Bridgeport," says GBS President Dr. Orin Grossman.
Now based in Brooklyn, New York, Eric is also conductor of YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and the Orlando Symphony, and travels all over the world with his music. Even with all this, Bridgeport has assumed a big role in his life; he says, “Some of my most rewarding and beautiful experiences have been in Bridgeport. Between working with students in local schools and making music with the incredible musicians of GBS, I feel at home here in Bridgeport.”
Born and raised on Long Island, Eric is the son of Edmund Jacobsen, a violinist and former member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the late Ivy Jacobsen, a noted flutist. At age four, he discovered the cello, though he was too small to handle such a large instrument; his father got him a viola and fitted it with an endpin - and the rest is history! (See the WTNH interview from 2014.) His brother is violinist Colin Jacobsen (who performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with GBS in October 2014), with whom he co-founded Brooklyn Rider and The Knights. The Jacobsen brothers were largely exposed to music through their parents, whose late-night chamber music soirees, in part, influenced the pair to study music. Eric graduated from The Juilliard School.
What's eric up to this month?
Eric will be at Tanglewood on August 15 with The Knights, then he’ll be in the recording studio with GBS’ newest friend Gil Shaham. Eric Gil, and The Knights will then head to Highland Park, Illinois for a concert of Brahms on August 26 and 28. Back home in Bridgeport for our season opener, September 21!