Biography: Eric Whitacre

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  • Topic: Choir, Eric Whitacre, Orchestra
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  • Published : May 21, 2013
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Born in Reno, Nevada, Whitacre studied piano intermittently as a child, later joining a junior high marching band under band leader Jim Burnett and later playing synthesizer in a techno-pop band, dreaming of being a rock star.[5][6] Whitacre began his full musical training while an undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, taking a BA in musical education, though he was unable to read music at the time.[5] Whitacre states that the first work that he sang, Mozart's Requiem, changed his life.[5] He studied composition with avant garde Ukrainian composer Virko Baley and choral conducting with David Weiller, completing his BA in Music in 1995. Whitacre credits Weiller with the inspiration that put the young composer on the musical path.[6] 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.[6][7] At the age of 23 he completed his first piece for Wind Orchestra, Ghost Train, which has now been recorded over 40 times. He acknowledges the great support of his mentor Tom Leslie in the development of composition for wind and in the writing of Ghost Train particularly.[6] While at Juilliard he met his future wife Hila Plitmann and two of his closest friends 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.[5][6]

Whitacre's first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal, Light & Gold,[8] won a Grammy in 2012, and became the no. 1 Classical Album in the US and UK charts within a week of a release.[9] Eric'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...
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