Eric Whitacre – Creating the Virtual Choir
Golden bricks and a beautiful Mess, we hear from the composer Eric Whitacre a year after the creation of his 6th Virtual Choir project with 17,572 singers from around the world
As Covid-19 has swept the world we’ve become used to seeing musicians in lockdown presenting videos of virtual performances. But for the Grammy-award winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, the idea of a virtual choir is nothing new because he pioneered the concept over 10 years ago. His first choir of 185 singers became a global phenomenon and has been seen by millions on YouTube. More virtual choir projects followed and the choir videos have featured as installations and as part of the 2012 Olympics and the Davos World Economic Forum.
In July 2020 Eric was preparing for the release of his 6th and largest Virtual Choir project. It involved 17,572 singers from around the world performing his new piece “Sing Gently” for which he’d written the words and the music. Emma Kingsley spoke to him for In The Studio about writing the music and his composition process which involves finding the perfect “golden brick” to create musical architecture.
In this updated repeat, Emma catches up with Eric to hear about his music-making since the release of Virtual Choir 6 – including a project intriguingly titled “The Beautiful Mess”.
Produced by Emma Kingsley for the BBC World Service
Photo of Eric Whitacre by Marc Royce