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Eric Whitacre. By: Kody Harvey Music 1010. Biography. Born January 2, 1970 in Reno, Nevada Joined college choir at UNLV in Las Vegas Continued to Julliard to earn Master of Music Married Hila Plitmann (Grammy winning soprano) and has 1 son Currently lives in London 42 Years old.

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eric whitacre
Eric Whitacre
  • By: Kody Harvey
  • Music 1010
  • Born January 2, 1970 in Reno, Nevada
  • Joined college choir at UNLV in Las Vegas
  • Continued to Julliard to earn Master of Music
  • Married Hila Plitmann (Grammy winning soprano) and has 1 son
  • Currently lives in London
  • 42 Years old

Now one of the most famous modern composers

  • First composition: Go, Lovely, Rose (Completed at age 21)
  • Conducts for many famous orchestras/choirs
    • London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    • Chanticleer
    • Philharmonia Orchestra

Has 26 compositions in SATB choral style alone

  • Also writes for wind symphonies, solo voice, musical theatre, opera, etc.
  • Sets poems from Dickinson, Cummings, etc for choral pieces

Virtual Choir

  • Selects one of his compositions and gives to score away on Youtube/his blog.
  • People record themselves singing to a video of him conducting the piece.
  • Puts all the videos together
  • Posts it !


  • Virtual Choir 1: Lux Aurumque
  • 3 million views
  • 185 singers from 12 countries
  • Virtual Choir 2.0: Sleep
  • 2,000 voices from 58 countries
  • Virtual Choir 3
  • 3,746 voices from 73 countries
composition history

Composing works since he attended UNLV

  • First major work was written for a class
  • Often uses poems or short stories as lyrics
Composition History
  • Published in 1995
  • Text from an Octavio Paz poem
  • Written for a high school choir
  • Adapted a campfire game of finger snapping to simulate rain
  • Used large sheets of tin for sounds of thunder
  • Originally 10 minutes long
  • Performed at UNAM, where Octavio Paz studied, in 2009
  • In Native language

“The rain…

Eyes of shadow-water

eyes of well-water,

eyes of dream-water.

Blue suns, green whirlwinds,

birdbeaks of light pecking open

pomegranate stars.

But tell me, burnt earth, is there no water?

Only blood, only dust,

Only naked footsteps on the thorns?

The rain awakens…

We must sleep with open eyes,

we must dream with our hands,

we must dream the dreams of a river seeking its course,

of the sun dreaming its worlds,

we must dream aloud,

we must sing till the song puts forth roots,

trunk, branches, birds, stars,

we must find the lost word,

and remember what the blood,

the tides, the earth, and the body say,

and return to the point of departure…

Octavio Paz, 1914-1998

(Adapted by Eric Whitacre, Translation by Lysander Kemp)”

go lovely rose
Go, Lovely Rose

“Go, lovely rose

Tell her that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,

How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,

And shuns to have her graces spied,

That hadst thou sprung

In deserts where no men abide,

Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth

Of beauty from the light retired;

Bid her come forth,

Suffer herself to be desired,

And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! That she

The common fate of all things rare

May read in thee;

How small a part of time they share,

That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

Edmund Waller, 1606-1687”

  • Poem by Edmund Waller in 17th century
  • Set to music for Whitacre’s choir teacher at UNLV, David Weiller
  • Performed in 1991
  • Performed in ACDA convention in Hawaii in 1992
  • After performance, Barbara Harlow published it with two other flower poems he set to music
listening guide
Listening Guide
  • Cloudburst
    • Originally 10 min
    • Written for Dr. Jocelyn K. Jensen
listening guide1
Listening Guide
  • Go, Lovely Rose
    • Poem by Edmund Waller
    • Set to music while at UNLV

Works Cited

"Eric Whitacre." Absolute Astronomy. Absolute Astronomy. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://>.

Lefevre, Peter. "Walton Music - Eric Whitacre." Welcome to Walton Music. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <>.

Whitacre, Eric. "Cloudburst." Cloudburst – SATB Choral – Music Catalog –. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <>.

Whitacre, Eric. "Cloudburst En Ciudad De Mexico." Cloudburst En Ciudad De México – Blog –. 7 Apr. 2009. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. < ciudad- de-mexico>.

Whitacre, Eric. "Three Flower Songs." Three Flower Songs – SATB Choral – Music Catalog –. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. < flower- songs>.