Can Eric Whitacre’s virtual choirs lead to a transformative personal experience like his own?


American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre closed submissions last week for “Water Night,” his third virtual choir adventure. He received video auditions from 3,746 singers, from 73 countries. The assembled performance is due in early April.

In a TED Talk, Whitacre takes the audience through the experience of creating the first two virtual choirs, “Lux aurumque,” and “Sleep.”

It’s a great listen — to both Whitacre’s story, as well as the choir. (His most recent album as a regular choral conductor, Light and Gold, on Decca, is up for a Grammy tomorrow night.)

As he describes his own wonder at “Lux aurumque,” he talks of “these souls, all on their desert islands, sending electronic messages in a bottle to each other.” He reads out Facebook testimonials from people who feel connected by the experience.

But one question lingers for me: If Whitacre had stumbled upon the auditions for the virtual choir in his dorm room, would he have had the transformative experience with choral music that he describes in the opening minutes of his TED Talk?

John Terauds

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3 thoughts on “Can Eric Whitacre’s virtual choirs lead to a transformative personal experience like his own?

  1. As someone who just spent the last 8 hours in workshop with mr. Whitaker, I think VC could lead to something transformational in that the virtual experience creates that longing for a deeper experience, the live experience. And it gives a much audience an opportunity to work with an artist of this caliber.

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