Eric Whitacre Unveils His Virtual Choir 2.0

A Live Video Webcast from The Paley Center for Media

« previous episode | next episode »

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Jeff Spurgeon interviews Eric Whitacre at the Paley Center Jeff Spurgeon interviews Eric Whitacre at the Paley Center

Last September, American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre invited singers from around the world to participate in an attempt to create the world's largest virtual choir. Six months later, he will reveal the results of his project in a world premiere event at The Paley Center For Media on April 7 at 6 pm ET. Host Jeff Spurgeon will interview the composer, and the entire event will be video Webcast live on the home page of WQXR.org.

Comprised of over 2,000 individual video clips from singers in 58 countries, the Virtual Choir 2.0 is the largest assembled online in history, and far surpasses Whitacre's stated goal of 900 voices. The choir sings Sleep, a composition characteristic of Whitacre's richly harmonized style.

This is Whitacre's second virtual choir project. The debut installment featured 185 singers from 12 countries and became a YouTube hit in 2010, receiving 1 million hits in just 60 days.

For the Virtual Choir 2.0 Whitacre posted a video online of himself conducting Sleep with a simple piano accompaniment. Choristers were invited to obtain the printed music and record themselves singing their individual part in front of a webcam, following his cues on screen and listening to the accompaniment in earphones. The closing date for entries was December 31, 2010.

Sleep will be featured on Whitacre's upcoming Decca recording, Light & Gold, which will be released on April 5. Viewers to this Webcast can follow the live tweets @PaleyCenter on Twitter and use #VirtualChoir #PaleyLiveNY to join the conversation.

Comments [16]

Valerie Smith from Old Saybrook, CT, USA

I'm so sorry I missed the original concert; I looked all over the place, and I'm finally finding it here. I do hope I can be part of any future such events. This is wonderful!

Apr. 07 2011 07:48 PM
chris huber from harpswell, maine, usa

that was amazing! my choir director sent me the clip before today and I was sl sorry I didn't jump in there in the 2000. When is the next choir?

Apr. 07 2011 07:11 PM

I also would LOVE to be considered if you are looking to expand the Virtual Choir. If you are planning to, is there a way that I can be added to those considered. I absolutely LOVE to sing and was so inspired by your YouTube Video Lux Aurumque.

Apr. 07 2011 06:59 PM
Christina Campsall from Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada

Hi Eric, I am so happy and incredibly greatful to have been apart of this project. Being an Alto 1, I would have to say my favorite part of this work is on the third "As I surrender unto sleep" when I can really let my voice out and just coast down that climactic phrase. What would you say is your favorite section, or aspect of the piece?

Apr. 07 2011 06:58 PM
Sioned from Wales, UK

CORDYDD from Wales, are all watching you now! WOOOOO! Congrats all - no 'Sleep' for us tonight, we'll be watching the amazing video all night!

Apr. 07 2011 06:44 PM
Michelle from Tulsa

I am having problems finding a local choir (both church and community) that my voice seems to fit with, and whose style I enjoy. I have problems singing with too much vibrato around me, do you have any suggestions on how to integrate or find a way to deal??

~M

Apr. 07 2011 06:04 PM
Hanna Jones from Cardiff, Wales, UK

It was a wonderful experience to record Sleep. I look forward to Virtual Choir 3.0 - which piece will this be? I look forward to seeing you again in Cardiff with Cordydd later this year!

Apr. 07 2011 05:59 PM
Sasha from Oglala Nation, South Dakota

Hi Eric ;) On behalf of Oglala nation, Thank you for allowing me to represent my home and people in your virtual choirs and Paradise Lost productions. I enjoy being in the virtual choir because EVERYONE, no matter where you are can see it. As for Paradise Lost, ever plan on bringing Paradise Lost to other places than major cities so people I tell this about can experience it as well? Thank you <3

Apr. 07 2011 05:53 PM
Lucia from Slovenia

I missed the chance to sing Sleep with you and this amazing choir. Is there going to be a 3rd chance? Did you and your 'crew' think about it? It would be awesome if you wrote a piece for that occasion!

Thank you for the great work and thank you for the beautiful music you are giving us!

Apr. 07 2011 05:51 PM
Nathaniel Compton from Boston, MA

What kind of advice can you offer to aspiring artists looking to eventually make a living from their art?

Apr. 07 2011 05:35 PM
Daniel Moore from Charlottesville, VA

Now that you've conducted both actual AND virtual choirs, do you see any way of merging them together? Or are the two venues mutually exclusive?

Apr. 07 2011 05:30 PM
Céline Tasselli

Bonjour je viens de Belgique, je viens de voir votre chorale virtuelle et cela m'interesserai de déposer ma voix ... Comment peut t-on y participer ?

Apr. 07 2011 04:52 PM
Jennifer Davis from Fredonia, NY

Can the next piece be "What If" from your work Paradise Lost:Shadows and Wings? Or perhaps a new original piece with text trying to encapsulate this whole virtual experience?

Apr. 07 2011 04:45 PM
Josh Burton from Canada

What's the NEXT step?

Apr. 07 2011 12:34 PM
Mike Williams from London

This is wonderful. Can you use your influence to encourage younger people to sing such as those in primrary education?

Apr. 07 2011 11:36 AM
Jeff Schmidt from Waterville, Ohio, USA

All 2053 members are exceedingly excited for this event! The rest of the world should be too!

Apr. 07 2011 10:35 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.