Skip to main content

Mead Witter School of Music offers orchestral residency with The Knights

February 5, 2020
Group photo of members of The Knights, some of them holding their instruments

The Knights is a collective of adventurous musicians, dedicated to eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Photo courtesy of The Knights

As part of the Hamel Music Center’s opening year celebrations, UW–Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music is welcoming Brooklyn-based orchestral collective The Knights, whose dynamic and collaborative work seeks to “transform the orchestral experience.”

On Friday, Feb. 7, the collective will offer a one-day, on-campus residency. Open to the public, opportunities include access to strings, wind, percussion and horn master classes; a workshop on music business; a side-by-side orchestral reading; and attendance at The Knights’ rehearsal. All activities will take place in the Hamel Music Center.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, The Knights will close their residency with a Kreutzer Project concert. The program features an arrangement of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata” for violin and chamber orchestra, with Knights violinist Colin Jacobsen as soloist; a new work by Jacobsen; and two arrangements for chamber orchestra of Janacek and Brahms.

Portrait of Alicia Lee leaning against a wall and holding a clarinet

Alicia Lee

Joining them on stage is Alicia Lee, assistant professor of clarinet, who performs frequently as a “Knight.”

“We are excited to bring a group with a fresh perspective that is run in perhaps a less traditional way,” Lee says of the residency. “This is a group of people with interesting, diverse approaches to a life in music. Many have been making music together for nearly 20 years, so the roots of both friendship and musical values run very deep.”

The Knights is a collective of adventurous musicians, dedicated to eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. The orchestra has toured and recorded with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein.

Lee performs old and new works in solo, chamber and orchestral settings. Before her appointment at the Mead Witter School of Music, she was a resident of New York City, where she performed and toured regularly with a variety of groups including The Knights, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, and NOVUS NY. She is a founding member of Decoda, the affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall, as well as a member of the composer/performer collective NOW Ensemble, with whom she has premiered dozens of new works. She also performs with the Wingra Wind Quintet at UW–Madison.