Eric Whitacre, Choral Composer, Returns to LA

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Eric Whitacre writes choral music that would make anybody a believer, including those who think classical music is stuffy and overly formal. His music is levitational, rising and floating, transporting you into another dimension. When I opened the shrink wrap on his CD Cloudburst years ago, I initially thought, “Yawn, here comes another boring choir album.” A minute or two later, I was blown away. So much so that I produced a story for NPR’s All Things Considered to feature the recording.

Whitacre has a huge social media fan base among young people around the world, and has stimulated new interest in what can often seem like slow, boring music. (In the above-mentioned NPR feature, I recount a funny story about an old neighbor who loved loud muscle cars and who told me that choral music was only for funerals.) He has delivered several TED talks and keynote addresses for Apple, Google, and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also pioneered The Virtual Choir, uniting singers from 110 different countries in one single concert using technology. Not bad for a singer who originally joined the choir to meet cute women but discovered Mozart’s Requiem instead. There was no looking back after that.

Whitacre left Los Angeles five years ago to live and work in London, but he is now back in town after being appointed the Los Angeles Master Chorale‘s (LAMC) first Artist-in Residence. His first concert takes place at on Sunday, June 5, 2016, 7 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall–a perfect acoustic space to enjoy great choral music. The evening, Sonic Masterworks, concludes the LAMC’s 2015-16 season. The featured music is an aural tapestry of a cappella works from around the globe spanning four centuries.

Whitacre and the LAMC will perform two works at the June 5th show: a choral setting of Depeche Mode‘s pop anthem Enjoy the Silence and Swedish composer Anders Hillborg‘s Mouayiyoum, a musical evocation of the surrealistic beauty of the aurora borealis in the Scandinavian winter sky.

Also on the program: Grant Gershon (conductor) and Leslie Leighton (associate conductor) will conduct Ligetti‘s Lux Aeterna (think Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey) and other works by composers Moses Hogan, Baroque composer Antonio Lotti, Gregorio Allegri, Abbie Betinis, Steven Stucky, Sydney Guillaume and Javier Zentner.

I think this is about as eclectic a choral program as any music lover could wish for. It is also the final concert of the season.

Here is Eric Whitacre’s cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence, with images from NASA:

And the Ligetti piece that you might remember from the film…very spacey, very eerie:

Finally, the levitational renaissance masterpiece from Gregorio Allegri, Miserere, one of the most hauntingly beautiful choral works ever written:

Click here for information and tickets to this unique show.

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