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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eric Whitacre On The Ecstasy of Conducting a Choir

Eric Whitacre is pictured at Abbey Road’s Studio One in March 2011, recording the choral parts for Pirates of the Caribbean IV. (ericwhitacre.com)

Eric Whitacre is pictured at Abbey Road’s Studio One in March 2011, recording the choral parts for Pirates of the Caribbean IV. (ericwhitacre.com)

Composer Eric Whitacre has created huge virtual choirs in cyberspace – thousands of singers uploading performances to be mixed together into one performance.

He just completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund Virtual Choir 4, which is scheduled to premiere at a concert in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation anniversary in July.

Eric Whitacre conducting at a Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) event. (ericwhitacre.com)

Eric Whitacre conducting at a Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) event. (ericwhitacre.com)

But Whitacre also performs with his own ensemble, the Eric Whitacre Singers. They appear on the Grammy-winning album “Light & Gold,” as well as their latest album “Water Night,” and they will be on a short East Coast tour this week.

Whitacre told Here & Now’s Robin Young that there is nothing like conducting a live choir.

“It’s the most incredible feeling. First, it all begins with the breath. I raise my hands and we all breathe at the same time. That moment for me is always the most electric. And then as soon as the sound comes out, the singers, they sing with such purity that the sound, it’s got a shimmer to it, a spin. I always feel like I’m surfing in it. It’s an ecstatic experience,” he said.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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