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Whitacre, Eric

Eric Whitacre (b. 1970) is one of the most widely-performed and popular composers of our time, a distinguished conductor, innovator, broadcaster, and charismatic public speaker. 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. The album 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. In November 2013, he released his first EP on vinyl featuring his choral cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”. His compositions are heard on multiple other recordings performed by artists across the globe. 

His ground-breaking Virtual Choir, “Lux Aurumque,” received over a million views on YouTube in just 2 months (now over 4 million) and features 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 was 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. In 2013, singers from all across America joined an online Honor Choir to perform a special commission for Disney, “Glow,” at the Winter Dreams holiday show at Disneyland Adventure Park© California, Anaheim. 

Eric has written for BBC Proms, London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Chanticleer, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Philharmonia Orchestra, The Tallis Scholars, 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 ten 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 London African Gospel Choir. 

An exceptional orator, Eric was honored to address the U.N. Leaders program and to appear twice on the main stage at the revered TED conference in Long Beach, California, where he earned a full standing ovation. He has addressed audiences worldwide, including leading universities, The Economist, and Seoul Digital Forum. In October 2012, Eric presented his Virtual Choir at the Founders 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 was a speaker at 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 gave a presentation in the closing session. In November 2013, Eric addressed the Ciudad de las Ideas “Brilliant Minds” conference which celebrates the most provocative and innovative ideas in science, business, and culture.

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 American Choral Directors Association (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. 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 (published by Santa Barbara Music). 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. 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 Cambridge University (Sidney Sussex College, UK). Many of Eric’s most beloved works are published by Walton Music.