Decca Releases Eric Whitacre's 'Light & Gold'
In May 2010, Eric Whitacre joined a handful of composers to have secured an exclusive, long-term recording contract with a major label when he agreed to a global deal with Decca. Whitacre recorded his debut Decca album Light & Gold in London at the beginning of August with a choral group including the Eric Whitacre Singers and Laudibus ("It truly feels like driving a Ferrari" Whitacre said of working with the choir of elite professional choral singers). The album, to be released on October 19th, includes some of Whitacre's best-loved choral works as well as three world-premiere recordings. This will be the first time Whitacre has both recorded and conducted his own music.
The Five Hebrew Love Songs will feature the excellent Pavao Quartet, and The Stolen Child will feature the incomparable King's Singers. All of the soprano solos will be sung by Grace Davidson.
Whitacre, a charismatic Californian, is already a well-known name in choirs across the world, admired for his beautifully paced and richly harmonized works. He has also become a powerful spokesperson for music, having followed in the footsteps of Bill Gates and President Obama as guest speaker at the TED conference. His unique combination of accessibility and musical integrity are appreciated by an eclectic fanbase. Here is someone who is truly bridging the gap between the traditional concert hall and the 21st Century virtual world.
VIRTUAL CHOIR 2011
With the announcement of the October 19th release, Eric Whitacre and Decca today reveal the launch of a global search for singers of all levels to join a record-breaking attempt to create the world's largest online choir. Blur's Alex James will be the first participant in Virtual Choir 2011, recording his part for Whitacre's much-loved masterpiece Sleep. He says: "This proves that you no longer have to live in a major city to be a part of a significant cultural scene; this project is accessible to anyone from Manhattan to the Maldives."
With Sleep, Whitacre's Virtual Choir will attempt to beat the record for the World's Largest Online Choir. The record currently stands at 900 but, with his loyal and extensive international fan base, Whitacre hopes to smash that record. Through an incredible technical feat Whitacre will combine thousands of individual choral parts to create the final tour de force.
Whitacre's original Virtual Choir has become a huge YouTube hit, receiving 1 million hits in just 60 days. While that project included many professional singers, this is the chance for everyone and anyone to become involved in the internet phenomenon.
Entries to the record attempt will be via YouTube (www.youtube.com/EricWhitacresVrtlChr) and will include an online tutorial explaining how to record and upload their chosen part. The closing date for entries is the end of 2010. The result is expected to create a vast and impressive masterpiece which makes online history.
Although familiar with conducting both choirs and orchestras, the Virtual Choir is potentially gargantuan in proportion. Whitacre says: "I've always felt that the recent digital revolution is a fantastic thing for music fans, both in terms of listening and participating. I'm delighted to lead what I anticipate to be a big step forward for classical - and indeed, all - music. I hope this will be a moment in music history for the YouTube Generation."
ABOUT Eric Whitacre
An accomplished composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. The Los Angeles Times has praised his compositions as "works of unearthly beauty and imagination, (with) electric, chilling harmonies"; while the BBC raves that "what hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension. This is music that can actually make you smile."
Though he had received no formal training before the age of 18, his first experiences singing in college choir changed his life, and he completed his first concert work, Go, Lovely Rose, at the age of 21. Eric went on to the Juilliard School, earning his Master of Music degree and studying with Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano.
Many of Whitacre's works have entered the standard choral and symphonic repertories and have become the subject of several recent scholarly works and doctoral dissertations. His works Water Night, Cloudburst, Sleep and Lux Aurumque are among the most popular choral works of the last decade. These can be found on his new recording Light And Gold, the first recording he has directed himself and also his first for Decca.
Whitacre has received acclaim for Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. Winner of the ASCAP Harold Arlen award, this musical also gained Whitacre the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for most promising musical theatre composer. Following its sold-out run, the most recent production earned 10 nominations at the 2007 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, including one for Best World Premiere Musical. The most recent performance at Carnegie Hall attracted further plaudits.
This autumn Whitacre takes up residency as Visiting Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He has also received a commission from the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for a premiere to take place at the Barbican, London in October. To date, his forty-four published concert pieces have sold over 1,000,000 copies.
For more information on Light & Gold and the Virtual Choir visit www.youtube.com/EricWhitacresVrtlChr.