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Eric Whitacre Biography

Eric Whitacre

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Born: 1970. Living in: United States

An accomplished composer, conductor and lecturer, Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. To date, Whitacre's published works have received thousands of performances and have sold in excess of one million copies worldwide. Over the past few years, his loyal fans and supporters have moved online, spreading Eric's popularity to an ever-expanding worldwide audience.

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, Lux Aurumque and A Boy and a Girl are among the most popular contemporary choral works, and his Ghost Train, Godzilla Eats Las Vegas, and October have achieved equal success in the symphonic wind community. Recent and forthcoming commissions include works for Chanticleer, the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Philharmonia Orchestra, The King's Singers and Conspirare. Whitacre has received composition awards from the Barlow International Composition Competition, the American Choral Directors Association and the American Composers Forum. In 2001, he became the youngest recipient ever awarded the coveted Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association. Eric is published by Chester Music and Walton Music.

As a conductor, Whitacre has appeared with hundreds of professional and educational ensembles throughout the world. In the last ten years he has conducted concerts of his choral and symphonic music in Japan, Australia, China, Singapore, South America and much of Europe including London, as well as dozens of American universities and colleges where he regularly conducts seminars and lectures with young musicians. In October 2010, Whitacre conducted the world premiere of Songs of Immortality, a work commissioned by the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra at The Barbican in London. Conducting engagements in 2010-11 include programs of his music in Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall and with the Berlin Radio Chorus at the Berliner Dom. Eric is currently a Visiting Fellow and Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, UK.

In May 2010, Eric was signed by Decca becoming one of a handful of composers to have secured an exclusive, long-term recording deal. His debut album, Light & Gold, released in October 2010, became the No 1 Classical Album in the US and UK charts within a week.

His music has been featured on several commercial and independent recordings. His first recording, The Music of Eric Whitacre, was hailed by The American Record Guide as one of the top ten classical albums of 1997. In 2006, a full collection of his a cappella music, Cloudburst and Other Choral Works, was released on Hyperion Records. This album is also an international best seller. The collection earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance.

Whitacre has received acclaim for Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, a cutting edge musical combining trance, ambient and techno electronica with choral, cinematic, and operatic traditions. 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.

In March 2010, Whitacre released his Virtual Choir recording of his piece Lux Aurumque on YouTube, receiving over 1,000,000 views in 2 months. His second Virtual Choir project will be released in Spring 2011, performing Sleep.

Mr. Whitacre lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their son.

2012 - Grammy Winner - Best Choral Performance - Light & Gold

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