The Knights Ensemble Announces New Executive Director
Arts administrator and violist Kristen Linfante will assume the role as of January 2024
Based in Brooklyn, The Knights was formed in 2007 as an orchestral collective by its artistic directors, the brothers violinist Colin Jacobsen and cellist Eric Jacobsen (also conductor of the ensemble).
Kristen Linfante, the long-time executive director and artistic director for Chamber Music Pittsburgh, will join The Knights as its new executive director beginning on January 1, 2024.
With over 30 years of experience in the arts industry as an active performer and arts administrator, Linfante has served as both an orchestral violist and Chair of the Player’s Committee of the acclaimed Grand Teton Music Festival.
She has also served as both general manager and director of artistic operations and touring for the GRAMMY Award-winning Apollo’s Fire Baroque orchestra — of which she has been a violist since 2005.
This year, she was one of eight executive directors chosen by the Richard King Mellon and McCune Foundations to receive a 3-month, $75,000 sabbatical in honor of her work in non-profit arts administration.
Specializing in modern and baroque viola, Linfante is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where she began studying at age 14. Additionally, she has performed with the Orchestra de Catania, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra.
Linfante’s appointment coincides with The Knights’ 2024 season, which includes the continuation of the 40-member orchestra’s new multi-year initiative, the Rhapsody Project, plus a three-concert series as part of their residency at Carnegie Hall.
“Leading The Knights at this opportune moment and supporting its visionary artistic founders, Colin and Eric Jacobsen, feels like an ideal match to me,” Linfante said in a press release. “The Knights are breaking down musical barriers and expanding the concept of classical music, doing the work to make our field more equitable, diverse, and inclusive, both on and off the stage. This is exactly what I have dedicated my career to, and it will be my privilege to help this extraordinary group of musicians carry out their thoughtful, passionate work.”
“We are so thrilled to have Kristen lead us into this next chapter for The Knights,” the Jacobsen brothers added. “Her extensive knowledge and experience as an arts administrator and leader, paired with her enthusiasm, passion, and artistry as a musician herself, will be key to helping the orchestra continue to realize creative programming, expand our audiences, and spread musical joy throughout the community.”