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Eric Whitacre Poster

Biography

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Mini Bio (1)

Eric Whitacre is a conductor, broadcaster and public speaker.

The first piece he ever performed - Mozart's Requiem - changed his life. Inspired to compose, his first piece Go, Lovely Rose, was completed at the age of 21. He went on to the Juilliard School (New York), earning his Master of Music degree studying with Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning composer, John Corigliano.

His first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal, Light & Gold, won a Grammy® in 2012, reaped unanimous five star reviews and became the no. 1 classical album in the US and UK charts within a week of release. His second album, Water Night, was released on Decca in April 2012 and debuted at no. 1 in the iTunes and Billboard classical chart on the day of release. It features seven world premiere recordings and includes performances from his professional choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers, the London Symphony Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber and Hila Plitmann. His compositions also feature on multiple other recordings made in Europe, North America and Australasia.

His ground-breaking Virtual Choir, Lux Aurumque, received over a million views on YouTube in just 2 months (now 3 million), featuring 185 singers from 12 different countries. Virtual Choir 2.0, Sleep, was released in April 2011 and involved over 2,000 voices from 58 countries. Virtual Choir 3, Water Night, received 3,746 submissions from 73 counties and launched at Lincoln Center, New York and revealed online in April 2012. The latest, Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise, released in July 2013, received over 8,400 submissions from 101 countries and launched at the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace/BBC 1.

Eric has written for The Tallis Scholars, BBC Proms, London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Chanticleer, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Philharmonia Orchestra, Berlin Rundfunkchor and The King's Singers among others. His musical, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, won both the ASCAP Harold Arlen award and the Richard Rodgers Award, and earned 10 nominations at the Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. A versatile musician, he has also worked with legendary film composer, Hans Zimmer, co-writing the Mermaid Theme for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In 2011, Eric was one of the judges and conducted the winning entries of the Abbey Road 80th Anniversary Anthem Competition, recording the London Symphony Orchestra and his professional choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers, in Abbey Road Studio 1. In May 2013, Eric and his choir performed at a ceremony honoring Archbishop Desmond Tutu at London's Guildhall as he was presented with the 2013 Templeton Prize Laureate and came together with fellow performers, world-renowned vocal artist Annie Lennox and the vibrant London African Gospel Choir, in a rousing performance of Lean on Me to close the ceremony.

His latest initiative, Soaring Leap, is a series of workshops and festivals. Guest speakers, composers and artists, make regular appearances at Soaring Leap events around the world.

Eric was honoured to address the U.N. Leaders programme and the revered TED conference in Long Beach CA where he earned the first full standing ovation of the conference. He has addressed audiences worldwide, including leading Universities, The Economist and Seoul Digital Forum. In October 2012, Eric presented his Virtual Choir at the F.ounders conference, an annual private gathering for 150 of the world's leading technology company founders, alongside a discussion with Jawed Karim, co-founder of YouTube. Eric addressed the World Economic Forum, Davos in January 2013, leading a discussion on the role of arts in society and the impact of technology on the arts, and will return to Davos by invitation in 2014. On 1 March 2013, he presented the first 'live' Virtual Choir at TED (Long Beach, CA) performing 'Cloudburst'.

Many of Eric Whitacre's works have entered the standard choral and symphonic repertories and have become the subject of scholarly works and doctoral dissertations. He has received composition awards from the Barlow International Composition Competition, the ACDA and the American Composers Forum. In 2001, Eric became the youngest recipient ever awarded the coveted Raymond C. Brock commission by the ACDA, despite coming to classical music relatively late in life when he joined his college choir in Las Vegas. Eric has received an Honorary Patronage from Trinity College Philosophical Society, Dublin and was awarded Alumnus of the Year 2012 by the University of Las Vegas.

Eric Whitacre is currently Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, UK.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Music Productions

Spouse (1)

Hila Plitmann (? - ?)

Personal Quotes (6)

The truth is, I'm not such a great singer, and so my whole harmonic language developed - and I think still exists - in a very pragmatic way: which is that the singers start either on a major or minor triad; half of them hold it and half of them move somewhere else - so there's an established tonality. As a singer, if you're on a G Major chord and then move to an A Major chord, suddenly you find yourself in the middle of this quite complex, shimmering cluster.
With vocal and choral music, first and foremost it's the text. Not only do I need to serve the text, but the text - when I'm doing it right - acts as the perfect 'blueprint', and all the architecture is there. The poet has done the heavy lifting, so my job is to find the soul of the poem and then somehow translate that into music.
When you look back on music history, it falls into these neat periods, but of course the period you yourself are living through seems totally scattered and chaotic. Music right now seems to me formless, in a very exciting way. Something's happened over the last year. I've been pushing my harmonic language a little harder. it's getting thornier.
The Brits are super-eloquent. I spend a lot of energy trying to raise the level of my own discourse. They're so polite, and they use 120 different adjectives where we just say everything is 'amazing'. And it's such a complex society, so much more subtle. Someone responds to my suggestion with, 'Well, I'm not sure if that idea is entirely quite the thing, you know', and what they mean is, 'That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!'
I'm a self-confessed geek, and my whole concept of music at first was entirely electronic. In many ways it turned out to be an advantage. I was so green, so utterly naive about the nature of classical music, that I did things that made me look totally, deliberately unorthodox.
There's a certain kind of thing that I write, clusterly pieces that breathe harmonically, and for those there is nothing like the pure British sound, with that perfect diction. In contrast, other works require a real, lusty sound. Italianate, almost like Monteverdi, which seems to work best with American singers. To be totally fair to both sides, Americans seem to be better at massive stylistic changes: they can move from Bach to a jazz standard with relative ease. In the U.K. they have all been singing since they were seven, and singing every day, but it's mostly the same repertoire.

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