Yes! Eric Whitacre is different from the other composers on this site because he's still alive, writing music and pushing the envelope of music and technology.
Eric was born in Nevada. He joined a marching band in middle school and also played in a techno-pop group and dreamed of being a rock star. He went to the University of Nevada where a friend convinced him to join the choir - even though he didn't know how to read music. In his first choir rehearsal he discovered Mozart’s Requiem and went on to study choral music and composition. After graduating from the University of Nevada he went to study at the Juilliard School in New York. Eric completed his first choral composition, ‘Go, Lovely Rose’, in 1990 as a gift for David Weller, his college choral director. While Eric was at Juilliard he met his future wife, soprano Hila Plitmann (born in Israel). They were married in 1998 and they have one son.
Eric's music became popular pretty quickly and his first album as composer and conductor won the 2012 Grammy® Award for Best Choral Recording. Because Eric is a truly modern composer he has a website where you can listen to his music and see him conducting and introducing many of his pieces. Click here to go to Eric's music catalog.
In 2010 with Eric came up with the idea of a Virtual Choir. A Virtual Choir uses technology to combine individual videos of singers into a choir. The first online project, ‘Lux Aurumque', was inspired by a young singer’s video upload, and was created by 185 singers from a dozen different countries. Within two months their joint recording attracted over a million views on YouTube and has now been viewed over four million times. The project grew in numbers with Virtual Choir 2.0, ‘Sleep’, and Virtual Choir 3, ‘Water Night’, Virtual Choir 4 ‘Fly to Paradise’ receiving over 8,400 submissions from 101 countries. Released in July 2013, the film was launched as part of the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and televised on BBC 1. To date, the four Virtual Choirs have registered over 15 million views. Recent Virtual Choir projects include ‘Glow’ written for the Winter Dreams holiday show at Disneyland© Adventure Park, California, and the Virtual Youth Choir, in association with UNICEF, which premiered at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Virtual Choir 5 was released in May 2018 and uses footage from the Hubble Space Telescope. It's called 'Deep Field' and includes more than 8,000 singers from over 120 countries.
Other things he's done and is doing
Eric is active on all social media. He has a Website, YouTube Channel, Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram - you name it. He is also a public speaker. He's given two TED talks and he has given speeches for many Fortune 500 companies and global institutions including Apple, Google, the World Economic Forum in Davos and the United Nations Speaker’s Programme.
Eric has conducted choral and instrumental concerts around the world, including sold-out concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. He has also worked Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer with whom he composed “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” for the famous Mermaid Theme. He has also worked with British pop stars Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox.
Eric is always looking for new ways to share his love of music and inspire people.
Here are some videos in which Eric talks about music and composing.