Eric Whitacre five hebrew (born January 2, 1970) is a Grammy-winning American composer, conductor, and speaker, known for his choral, orchestral and wind ensemble music. He is also known for his “Virtual Choir” projects, bringing individual voices from around the globe together into an online choir. In March 2016, he was appointed as Los Angeles Master Chorale’s first artist-in-residence at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Born in Reno, Nevada, Whitacre studied piano intermittently as a child and joined a junior high marching band under band leader Jim Burnett. Later he played synthesizer in a techno-pop band, dreaming of being a rock star.Though he was unable to read music at the time, Whitacre began his full musical training while an undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, eventually taking a BM in Music Composition. Whitacre states that the first work that he sang, Mozart’s Requiem, changed his life. He studied composition with Ukrainian composer Virko Baley and choral conducting with David Weiller, completing his BM in Music in 1995. Whitacre credits Weiller with the inspiration that put the young composer on the musical path. At 21 he wrote his setting of “Go, Lovely Rose” for his college choir and presented the composition as a gift to David Weiller. Whitacre went on to earn his master’s degree in composition at the Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano and David Diamond. At the age of 23 he completed his first piece for Wind Orchestra, Ghost Train, which has now been recorded over 40 times. Tom Leslie contributed to his interest in writing for wind ensembles. While at Juilliard he met his future wife, soprano Hila Plitmann, and two of his closest friends, composers Steven Bryant and Jonathan Newman. He lived in the state of Nevada until he was 25. He graduated in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles and following the success of Ghost Train, he decided to become a full-time professional composer.
Whitacre’s first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal, Light & Gold, won a Grammy Award in 2012, and became the no. 1 Classical Album in the US and UK charts within a week of a release.[better source needed] Whitacre’s second album, Water Night, was released on Decca in April 2012 and featured performances from his professional choir the Eric Whitacre Singers, the London Symphony Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber and Hila Plitmann.