Whitacre began his musical training while an undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied composition with avant garde Ukrainian composer Virko Baley and choral conducting with David Weiller. He wrote his setting of Go, Lovely Rose for his college choir and presented the composition as a gift to David Weiller. Eric went on to earn his Master's degree in composition at the Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano. [Since then, Whitacre has received many commissioning awards and honors, with sheet music sales of over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. His works Water Night, Cloudburst, Sleep, Lux Aurumque, and A Boy and a Girl are among the most popular choral works of the last decade, and his Ghost Train, Godzilla Eats Las Vegas and October have achieved success in the symphonic wind community. His cutting edge musical Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, which combines influences including trance, electronica, and anime with choral, cinematic, and operatic traditions, won the ASCAP Harold Arlen Award, the Richard Rogers award, and 10 Ovation Award nominations. He has received composition awards from the Barlow International Composition Competition, the American Choral Directors Association and the American Composers Forum. In 2001, Whitacre became the youngest recipient ever awarded the coveted Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association.
He is currently completing his first full-length oratorio for chorus, soprano soloist, and orchestra; a commission for the Berlin Rundfunkchor and a major commission for the London Symphony Chorus which will be performed with the London Symphony Orchestra in October 2010. Since 2000, he has conducted concerts of his choral and symphonic music in Japan, Australia, China, Singapore, South America and much of Europe, as well as in American Universities and colleges where he regularly conducts seminars and lectures with young musicians. 2010-11 commissions include works for Chanticleer, The King's Singers and Conspirare.
Whitacre's first recording, The Music of Eric Whitacre, was named 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 the renowned British label Hyperion Records. The album became an international best seller, appearing in the top ten of both Billboard's and iTunes Top Classical Albums charts. Two years after its release, it continues to be a top-seller and won a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance. In 2010, Whitacre signed to Decca as a performer, conducting the first album of his music Light & Gold, which will be released in late 2010.
Whitacre writes music that incorporates contemporary sounds and influences while demanding precision, intonation and ensemble. Eric Whitacre divides his time between conducting and teaching throughout the world and the demands of his composing. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Grammy-award winning soprano Hila Plitmann and their son.
Year / Artwork
Orchestral and Vocal Works
The River Cam (with cello) (2011)
Deep Field (about Hubble telescope) (2015)
Leonard Elschenbroich - Cello
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Eric Whitacre