Classical Ensemble The Knights to Perform with Pipa Player Wu Man, 2/20

Classical Ensemble The Knights to Perform with Pipa Player Wu Man, 2/20

Renowned Pipa virtuoso Wu Man returns to Houston - this time for the debut of classical music ensemble The Knights - Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, presented by Society for the Performing Arts.

Founded by brothers Colin and Eric Jacobsen (also members of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider), The Knights are an orchestra of friends from a broad spectrum of the New York music world who cultivate collaborative music-making and creatively engage audiences in the shared joy of musical performance. The talented group is made up of composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters and improvisers who bring a range of cultural influences. Led by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they expand the orchestral concert experience with programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and their passion for musical discovery.

The Knights have joined forces with Wu Man for a program that includes Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in E-flat; Lou Harrison's Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra; Claude Debussy's Prelude a l'après-midi d'un faune; Darius Milhaud's Le boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58; and Wu Man's Blue and Green.

For their inspired programming, innovative formats and "crusading musical mission," The Knights have been hailed as "the future of classical music in America" (Los Angeles Times). The Jacobsen brothers were featured on a PBS documentary in fall 2011 titled "We Are The Knights," which told the story of how their orchestra was born. That same year, The Knights partnered with New York's classical music radio station, WQXR, for the launch of the station's new Ensemble-in-Residence program. The musicians appeared across all platforms: on air, online and on stage before live audiences.

The Knights perform in a wide range of concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, 92nd Street Y, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Lyceum, Central Park, Le Poisson Rouge, The Stone, Tonic, the Whitney Museum, and Mass MoCA. Also in demand on the international stage, they have appeared at the Dresden Musikfestspiele, Cologne Philharmonie, Dusseldorf Tonhalle, and the National Gallery in Dublin, and have toured Germany with cellist Jan Vogler. Their expanding presence on the music festival scene has included performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Stillwater Music Festival in Minnesota, and Caramoor's Fall Festival. The orchestra's extensive repertoire features traditional and contemporary masterworks of classical, popular, and world music in collaboration with such artists as soprano Dawn Upshaw and violinist Gil Shaham.