Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Eric Whitacre Conducts Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, The Sacred Veil, Sydney Premiere, Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Next Month

The performance is on Saturday 17 September, 8pm.

Eric Whitacre Conducts Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, The Sacred Veil, Sydney Premiere, Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Next Month

In 2016, after a visit from his long-time collaborator and friend, lyricist and poet Charles Anthony Silvestri, composer Eric Whitacre found a poem Silvestri had left for him sitting on his piano. Silvestri had lost his wife and soul mate to cancer 12 years previously, leaving him to bring up their two young children.

The poem he left for Whitacre was called The Other Side of Eternity and Whitacre immediately sat down and began to set it to music. The resulting composition became part of a broader body of work based on Silvestri's poetry called The Sacred Veil, which was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in February 2019.

Whitacre's most extensive choral composition to date, this internationally acclaimed work, dedicated to Julie Silvestri, "memorably celebrates the precarious beauty of life, offering the welcome consolation of art, and a momentary stay" (Los Angeles Times) against the collective fate of humanity.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs are honoured to present this moving and poignant concert in the newly refurbished Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with Grammy Award-winning American composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre.

A concert season highlight in 2022, this will be Whitacre's first Sydney appearance in almost 10 years, since his sold-out Sydney Opera House performances with the Choirs in 2013.

The concert program will include Whitacre's Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold) - one of the most frequently performed works of choral music in the world, his luminous Sainte-Chapelle, and the Sydney premiere of Whitacre's latest masterpiece, The Sacred Veil; all three created in collaboration with lyricist Silvestri.

These works will be brought to life by the virtuoso singers of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs' young adult choir, VOX, cellist Julian Smiles, and pianist Claire Howard Race. Many will remember VOX from the 2022 Sydney Festival and their collaboration with Gravity & Other Myths on the ground-breaking, sold-out, world-premiere season of The Pulse. Similarly, this once-off performance is guaranteed to resonate long after the final note.

Brett Weymark, Artistic & Music Director of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, said, "I have long been a big fan of Eric's works - of which Sydney Philharmonia Choirs has performed so many, and have followed his career with much interest. So, when I heard that he was composing a major piece that would last about an hour, in the style of a modern oratorio, I flew to Los Angeles to attend the premiere. It was a profoundly moving experience. We immediately hatched a plot to bring the work and Eric back to Sydney and even a pandemic could not get in our way. I am thrilled to welcome back Eric, and this extraordinary piece that is so touching, personal and life affirming. You would be mad to miss what will be one of the musical highlights of the year."

"The Sacred Veil is a story for us all," says Whitacre, "everyone has a place of pain that we can hardly bear to touch" and it taps into the way music - and especially singing - can help us grieve and heal.

Book now at Tickets from $45 plus booking fee, $30 for Under 30's. Concessions available.

The Sacred Veil was commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon - Artistic Director, Monash Academy of Performing Arts - MLIVE Melbourne and NTR ZaterdagMatinee for the Netherlands Radio Choir.

Recognised worldwide as a galvanizing force in choral music, Los Angeles-based Eric Whitacre catapulted to international stardom in 2010, when he pioneered the world's first Virtual Choir, bringing 185 singers together online, and recording a video performance of Lux Aurumque, that has since reached millions.

Since then, he's become a virtual rock star of contemporary choral music, loved by singers and audiences across the globe. The fifth iteration of his Virtual Choir project, Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of Our Universe, launched in November 2018, brought together 8,000 singers from 120 countries aged from 4 to 87.

Founded in 1920, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs is Australia's leading, largest and longest-standing choral organisation, working with more than 700 singers across six choirs. Their final two concerts for 2022 are Glorious Puccini in October, and Handel's iconic Messiah in December. Book now at

For all the latest news from Australia's leading choral performing arts company, subscribe at

TodayTix Extension

More Hot Stories For You

Cecilia Livingston Named Newest Composer-In-Residence At The Canadian Opera CompanyCecilia Livingston Named Newest Composer-In-Residence At The Canadian Opera Company
October 3, 2022

Cecilia Livingston has been named the new Composer-in-Residence at the Canadian Opera Company. The program was created to support artistic growth and career development, with each residency custom-tailored to each artist.

The Met Launches New Streaming Platform, Making Live Simulcasts Available for Home AudiencesThe Met Launches New Streaming Platform, Making Live Simulcasts Available for Home Audiences
October 3, 2022

The Metropolitan Opera has announced the launch of The Met: Live at Home, a streaming platform that allows audiences to watch the Met’s acclaimed series of live simulcasts from any device in the comfort of their homes—the latest effort by the company to reach as broad a public as possible.

Robert Carsen's New AIDA Comes to Cinemas This MonthRobert Carsen's New AIDA Comes to Cinemas This Month
October 3, 2022

This October, the Royal Opera House is delighted to announce that its new production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, staged by the acclaimed Canadian director Robert Carsen, will be broadcast live from Covent Garden on Wednesday 12 October 2022, reaching over 1,000 cinemas in 34 countries around the world.  

Wilmington Concert Opera to Present GIRONDINES This MonthWilmington Concert Opera to Present GIRONDINES This Month
October 1, 2022

Wilmington Concert Opera will present the world premiere of “Girondines,” a two-act ensemble chamber opera for six women, and scored for piano, violin, cello, and electronics. Composer Sarah Van Sciver set the libretto by WCO's co-founder and artistic director, Kirsten C. Kunkle.

Madison Opera Presents SALOME By Richard StraussMadison Opera Presents SALOME By Richard Strauss
September 30, 2022

A scandalous dance and a shocking kiss. Madison Opera opens its 62nd season with Richard Strauss' Salome on Friday, November 4 at 8pm and Sunday, November 6 at 2:30pm in Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts.