Artist details

helicon artists

Colin Jacobsen


Photo By:
Todd Rosenberg

Violinist Colin Jacobsen, a 2003 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, first played to critical acclaim at the age of fourteen, collaborating with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic in a performance that was hailed by the New York Times: "Jacobsen was the impressively accomplished soloist in Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, sounding as if he were born to the instrument and its sweet, lyrical possibilities." He recently returned to the New York Philharmonic in a performance of Brahms' Double Concerto with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and David Zinman conducting.

Colin Jacobsen’s wide-ranging musical activities are part of a generational wave that is taking classical music into a much broader context. As a soloist, he continues to play with orchestras worldwide, including those of Albany, Charleston, Chicago, San Francisco, Nashville and Philharmonia Baroque. In an unusual concerto collaboration conceived by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony, he gave the premiere of a concerto by Kevin Beavers based on Pulitzer- Prize-winning author William Kennedy’s novel, Roscoe with the author narrating. He also recently premiered Lisa Bielawa’s Double Violin Concerto with Boston Modern Orchestra Project; written for him and violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt.

As a touring member of the Silk Road Ensemble since its conception by Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood 10 years ago, Mr. Jacobsen has been part of a creative cauldron that has continually pushed him to expand his boundaries. Through exposure to the incredible sound-worlds of musicians like the Persian kemanche virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, vocalist Alim Qasimov and pipa player Wu Man; he has been inspired to compose and arrange pieces both for the Ensemble and for other groups. Some highlights of his journeys with the Silk Road Ensemble have included performances in front of the world’s largest wooden Buddha statue in Nara, Japan; as part of the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center; at the opening of the Special Olympics in Shanghai; and at the Red Fort in Agra, India.

Mr. Jacobsen is a co-founder along with his brother, the cellist and conductor Eric Jacobsen, of two ensembles whose dynamism in programming and performance is helping to re-imagine the possibilities inherent in the string quartet (Brooklyn Rider) and orchestral (The Knights) mediums. Brooklyn Rider’s album Passport was featured as one of NPR’s top classical picks for 2008 and The Knights have recorded two albums for Sony Classical and toured to Europe with soprano Dawn Upshaw.

In the summer of 2006, the members of Brooklyn Rider (Mr. Jacobsen and his brother Eric, violinist Jonathan Gandelsman and violist Nicholas Cords) collectively helped to found the Stillwater Music Festival in Minnesota. Other summer performances have taken him to the Banff Centre for the Arts, Bravo! Colorado Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, the Moritzburg Festival, Ravinia Festival, Salzburg Festival, Tanglewood and in Taiwan's National Concert Hall.

Mr. Jacobsen has toured China with Tan Dun performing with the composer his Water Passion based on St. Matthew. He has also enjoyed cross-disciplinary explorations with several dance and theater companies, including the New York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Compagnia de’ Colombari. He recently played Stravinsky’s L’Histoire Du Soldat with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd as narrator.

Jacobsen has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, at Bargemusic, and is a member of the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert. He has also collaborated with musicians such as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Don Byron, Christina Courtin, Kim Kashkashian, Mark O’Connor, Phillip Glass, Steven Isserlis, Christian Tetzlaff, Mitsuko Uchida and Jan Vogler. As the Young Artist in Residence for NPR's Performance Today, he curated a weeks' programming and performed live for listeners across the country.

Born to musician parents Eddie and Ivy Jacobsen, Colin Jacobsen began studying with Doris Rothenberg at the age of 4. His principal teachers have included Louise Behrend, Robert Mann, and Vera Beths, at The Juilliard School and The Royal Conservatory of the Hague, respectively.

Mr. Jacobsen plays a Joseph Guarneri filius Andreae violin crafted in 1696 and a Samuel Zygmuntowicz violin made in 2008.

Colin is a member of Helicon's Advisory Committee.

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