Eric Whitacre is one of the most popular and performed composers of our time, a distinguished conductor, broadcaster and 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. 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.
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.
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.
An exceptional orator, 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. 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. 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.