Skip to Content


Subscribe: RSS

The New BYU Singers CD is Out

October 24, 2008 at 2:22 pm UTC

That’s right, but it’s only available here, from their website. Extraordinary recordings. We’ll get them up on iTunes as soon as possible, but for now, that’s the only place to get it.

While I was in Provo for the recording last winter I sat down with Ron Staheli (the BYU Singers brilliant conductor) and host Marcus Smith for a 40 minute radio interview for KBYU. Marcus asks some very deep, very insightful questions; he really pushed me on a number of interesting subjects. If you’ve got the time and the interest I think it’s worth a listen.

The interview is about 40 minutes long:

  • Tessy

    Very very interesting interview. It’s funny that you mentioned Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, because I was just thinking about it…or, technically, singing it to myself. ^^

    Anyways, I am very glad that the new CD is finally out! That really made my day!

  • Jody

    Yay! Make sure to let us know as soon as it is up on itunes.

  • Matt

    It's funny you should mention "Leonardo" because we're singing it this year in BYU Singers. Thanks so much for writing such an amazing piece of music!


  • Nicholas Hein

    That interview kind of blew my mind.

  • Masa Ohtake

    Hey, Mr. Whitacre

    You probably don't remember me, but I was one of the blessed students from Lawrence, Kansas. I'm a graduate of Free State High School, and now I'm a freshman pursuing music degrees (trombone performance and music education) at the University of Washington in Seattle. We briefly spoke on that Saturday morning after rehearsal about the piece I was composing for band, but I digress. Because of all the things going on in college life, I haven't been able to sit down and relax to your masterpieces for a while, and when I heard those brief seconds of A Boy and a Girl played preceding the interview, I felt shivers I haven't felt since that cold February evening at the Lied Center. I want to thank you for that, and you better believe I'm ordering that CD from the BYU website RIGHT NOW.

    Please keep doing what you are doing. It makes the world a better place.

    Masa Ohtake
    University of Washington Seattle
    Lawrence Free State High School '08

  • Robbie Bennett

    Your interview was very enlightening. I hope to gain as much information about your work as I can in March at the Community Sing Event. I'm driving up there all the way from Tulsa, OK during my spring break for that and the concert the 22nd. with a friend. I am really excited and appreciate your willingness to be apart of something like that. Can't wait!

  • Robbie Bennett

    *a part

  • Andrew Nelson

    Enjoyed the interesting and deeply insightful interview.
    I’m excited to get my hands on the new CD!

    Hope all is well with you, Mr. Whitacre.
    God bless!

  • John

    Fantastic! This CD and a recording of John Adams’ “Doctor Atomic” are my two most-wanted (and most anticipated) recordings for this year. This CD looks to be a fantastic one, because it has a lot of your tracks that you can’t really find on any official Eric Whitacre-sanctioned recording.

    I’ve already ordered mine and I can’t wait to get it in the mail!

  • Brandon

    Yikes! They asked you some tough questions. Doing that live must have been a little nerve racking, lol :).

  • Tessy

    I have to add that you did do a great job keeping your brain in tact amongst all of those tough questions. :)

  • Justin

    I bought this in like September, lol. I do have to give it another listen, it felt like there was something missing in the recording, it seemed a little rushed. Idk, I feel like the older BYU cd is far superior. I don't mean any disrespect to you Eric. It's still a wonderful cd.

  • Justin H

    I think your answers were very helpful to me, though I think music has been overanalyzed over the past few years.

  • Kyle

    YES! I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting and waiting for this CD and it’s finally here! :))
    Thank you so much for taking the time to work with the GODLY BYU choir…the first CD blows my mind.
    God Bless :)

  • Kirby

    Pardon me if I am logging into the wrong place. I will look into this new CD further. I became aware of your music last Christmas when 2 PBS shows performed "Lux Arumque"-most notably, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Sissel and an angelic dance troupe. I now have several CD versions including the Polyphony album. Since then I have found a number of versions on YouTube. My favorite is by the Pro Cantu Youth Choir from South Africa. I have now put my own version on YouTube accompanied by the Cathedral Choral Society of the Washington National Cathedral. It is at:
    Please e-mail me if you have any comments or objections to this interpretation.
    Kirby Chan
    Sacramento, CA

  • Matt

    Mr Whitacre, I have always treated your works with a special respect because of the way they have changed my view of music and choral music in particular. But after listening to this interview, I find it fascinating how many ideas we share about what music should be! I'm a piano performance/voice student at Lawrence Conservatory in Wisconsin, and I can't stand my theory and part-writing classes because they make music so formulated and mathematical. I was just so glad to hear you feel the same way about music, how it should be something much more natural and pure from the soul! anyways. I'm signed up to sing with you in Minneapolis this spring and I can't wait! What a great interview Eric. Keep it up. – Matt

  • Kiel Beardshear

    I still can't believe how amazing your works are. I wish I could be that good. I just wanted to point out that I like your little :) on the top right of the page. Brought a smile to my face when I saw it.

  • Brandon

    I am one of the BYU Concert Choir singers that sang in the Her Sacred Spirit Soars recording, and I picked this up in September when it first became available to those of us who are in it. I'm really looking forward to what is done with the final itunes recording, because the remastering on our version of the CD is nigh to nonexistent. I was especially displeased with how The Cow came out, because I was there for the recording, and the BYU Singers basses hit it in some of the takes, but we chose takes that were sloppy at best. I've heard tell that there was no real remastering done, and that this was a temporary release to satiate us while we waited, so now I'm a bit confused about it. Being in the recording sessions I was blown away by the power and potential for a great release, but I was left underwhelmed by the CD that we put out.

  • John Zirkle

    Hi Eric,

    I've met you a couple times, once after a performance of Paradise Lost in LA, and once after a performance with Dick Larson's choir in Denver. I'm one of the many youngins' that you have inspired to study music. I've actually given you that speech twice in person. But, no reason to stop thanking you. Here's once more to you! Anyways, I'm sitting in Bulgaria now, and I came across your blog and this wonderful interview.

    I loved the it. It's nice to hear a composer with a status like yours fumble through his words. It makes it a little easier on us students who often don't get to see the human side of the composers we study. I think a lot of the things you mentioned about the creative process are on point; the most important being the danger of self-awareness. I remember a professor of mine stating that once you become aware of the plotting, the whole thing starts to stink of sweat. I have found that to be true in my own work, both as a young conductor and composer.

    What Ron Staheli said about the heart and brain in music is definitely one of those precarious balances that seems to be one of the greatest challenges in creating fine art. And so it seems that nature, and the "golden mean," can serve as a nice fulcrum for that balance (even if it isn't exactly in the center). And so, though I don't expect you to respond to this directly, I hope you might give it a read. When you speak of imitating nature, I don't interpret that to be as John Cage might have done. Would it be wrong of me to assume that you are implying that a lot of music in the 20th century moved away from what is natural? I'm sure you didn't mean to generalize, and of course there are countless examples of music that seem to leave out a lot of the heart in post-1945 compositional practice, but my main question for you is how nature is itself a balance of heart and brain. Is it 5 hearts for every 8 brains? Okay, so maybe I'm not looking for numbers here. But mainly, what are your views on the relationship between your emphasis of natural beauty, that which connects all people involved (composer, performer, audience), and the balance of the emotional and cerebral/crafty/clever aspects of music?

    Thanks for posting the interview. Just like your music, it was really a joy to listen to it.


  • Michael

    I purchased this new CD a couple months ago and I am learning to love it, just like I did with the first release. I had the first CD for probably a year before I understood the masterpiece within each composition. I agree with the assertion by Marcus that Eric's music is complex and for me it takes repeated listening over time to fully digest, but that is what exceptional art is about. The greatest music I know was an acquired taste, not some sugary sweet pop with no substance. Yes, Eric's music is natural, but it is also sewn with an intricate weave. This latest CD is no exception.

  • Jacob L. Downer


    After hearing your music countless times, I have become compelled to "challenge" you with your own orchestration
    of a well-known piece of music:

    Most people wouldn't know that Gustavus Theodor von Holst
    originally created his solar system for two pianos, the
    reason being that he suffered from extreme neuritis in his
    right arm. He compensated by first writing the two-piano score, and then asked two of his fellow teachers, Vally Lasker and Nora Day, to play this version, from quite possibly a set of single scores, while he wrote out the orchestration on top of the master score. If possible, would you be able to give the suite your own orchestral coloration? I think it would be nice for the world to hear something familiar, but in a quasi-new setting.

    Jacob L. Downer

    Post Scriptum: The site for the original score is

  • Erik D. Bergsven

    Hello Eric,

    I have just started to look around on the "Soaring Leap" website checking the many updates I have been missing! I have just been in love with you work since the first time I heard it. Your feel for the music with your heart and "brain" as Ron put it, is so vivid in the approaches you take. I think this generation of musicians is so blessed to have someone like yourself and your fantastic abilities. As a aspiring choral conductor I hope that I will my students will grow to love your music as much as I have. Thank you so much for your contributions to the musical world and for giving such an insightful interview!

    Erik D. Bergsven
    Jamestown College