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Biography

Whitacre is that rare thing, a modern composer who is both popular and original

— The Daily Telegraph, London

Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, is among today’s most popular musicians. His works are programmed worldwide and his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united 100,000 singers from more than 145 countries. Born in Nevada in 1970, Eric is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music (New York). He is currently Visiting Composer at Pembroke College at Cambridge University and recently completed his second term as Artist in Residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In the 2022-2023 season, the Cincinnati Pops and the National Symphony Orchestra will premiere a new commission: Prelude in C. Eric is proud to be a Yamaha Artist.

His compositions have been widely recorded and his debut album as a conductor on Universal, Light and Gold, went straight to the top of the charts, earning him a Grammy.  As a guest conductor he has drawn capacity audiences to concerts with many of the world’s leading orchestras and choirs in venues such as Carnegie Hall (New York), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace (London).  Insatiably curious and a lover of all types of music, Eric has worked with legendary Hollywood composers Hans Zimmer, John Powell and Jeff Beal as well as British pop icons Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox.  Major classical commissions have been written for the BBC Proms, Minnesota Orchestra, Rundfunkchor Berlin, The Tallis Scholars, Chanticleer, Cincinnati Pops, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Children’s Chorus of America and The King’s Singers.

His composition for symphony orchestra and chorus, Deep Field, was inspired by the achievements of the Hubble Space Telescope and became the foundation for a collaboration with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute and 59 Productions.  The film was premiered at Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, Florida), has been seen at arts and science festivals across the world.  Deep Field has been performed in concert on several continents, and with simultaneous film projection by the New World Symphony, New World Center (Miami), Brussels Philharmonic, Flagey (Brussels), Bergen Philharmonic, Grieghallen (Bergen) among other great orchestras.   His long-form work for choir, cello and piano, The Sacred Veil, is a profound meditation on love, life and loss.  It was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in Walt Disney Concert Hall, conducted by the composer and was released on Signum Records. Eric was Composer-in-Residence at Cambridge University from 2011 – 2016. A new version with full string orchestra will be performed in Denver with the choir, Kantorei, in Fall 2022.

Widely considered to be the pioneer of Virtual Choirs, Eric created his first project as an experiment in social media and digital technology. Virtual Choir 1: Lux Aurumque was published in 2010 and featured 185 singers from 12 countries. Ten years-on in 2020, Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently – written for the Virtual Choir during the global pandemic that shook the world, COVID-19 – featured 17,562 singers from 129 countries. Previous Virtual Choir projects include ‘Glow’ written for the Winter Dreams holiday show at Disneyland© Adventure Park, California, and the Virtual Youth Choir, a major fundraiser for UNICEF.  To date, the Virtual Choirs have registered over 60 million views and have been seen on global TV.

A charismatic speaker, Eric Whitacre has given keynote addresses for many Fortune 500 companies, in education and global institutions from Apple and Google to the World Economic Forum in Davos and the United Nations Speaker’s Program. His mainstage talks at the influential TED conference in Long Beach CA received standing ovations. His collaboration with Spitfire Audio resulted in a trail-blazing vocal sample library, became an instant best-seller and is used by composers the world-over.


Read Eric's long biography

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