Eric Whitacre is a Grammy-winning composer, conductor, and creator of the groundbreaking virtual choir, Deep Field. Eric is known for working at the nexus of art and technology, where he finds profound, universal wisdom about leadership, collaboration, community building, and nurturing the creative process. Charismatic and captivating, he has been commissioned by NASA for a far-reaching project soon to be revealed. He was also appointed the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s first artist-in-residence. The two-year post began with the 2016-2017 season.
Eric is best known for creating technologically innovative musical arrangements, his groundbreaking virtual choirs, which have been heard by tens of millions of people around the globe. Beautifully composed, gorgeously performed, and imaginatively wrought, Eric’s haunting, complex works exemplify his message that technology can be used to foster connections and help broaden the reach of art and human expression. His most recent is VC5: Deep Field, inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope Deep Field images. To accompany the singers, Eric conceived of an app to engage the audience as collaborators. At a critical juncture in the performance, the theater goes dark and listeners’ smartphones emit sound and light to complement the voices and create the cosmos-like atmosphere.
Eric’s virtual choir projects connect thousands of Internet-sourced voices via video. Immediate international sensations, these performances afforded unprecedented inclusion—to all ethnicities and nationalities, the geographically remote, the physically challenged, the emotionally vulnerable, and even those under restrictive political regimes. They inspired self-organizing groups, where teams helped each other audition, rehearse, and work out tech problems. These “spheres of magic” provide a sense of connection, belonging, and accomplishment and teach lessons about inclusion, global team building, and how to motivate diverse people to collaborate toward a common goal.
Eric’s work at the intersection of science and art includes a study with the Centre of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music and Imperial College, which helped prove music’s role in stress-reduction and building the immune system. Eric’s own musical journey started comparatively late when, as a college freshman, he joined the choir and was forever transformed by Mozart’s Requiem and by the shared emotional connection of choral singing. Soon, he was composing his own works, and was eventually accepted to the prestigious Julliard School.
Eric has written for many of the world’s most esteemed orchestras and artists, including Stephen Schwarz, Annie Lennox, and Laura Mvula. His musical, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, won the ASCAP Harold Arlen Award and the Richard Rodgers Award. His album Light & Gold won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance and his album Water Night went straight to number 1 on the iTunes Classical Music chart on its day of release. As a conductor, Eric has performed on five continents and was been a Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.