News & Views Sunday, May 20, 2018

Eric Whitacre - American Masterpieces: Choral Music Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The National Endowment for the Arts' American Masterpieces: Choral Music initiative is designed to celebrate our national musical heritage by highlighting significant American choral composers and their works of the past 250 years.  Stanton's Sheet Music is proud to present this series highlighting the composers and their works featured in this groundbreaking project.

Eric Whitacre is the youngest of our group of choral composers. His incredible accomplishments before the age of 30 show that America's choral tradition is alive and well and has a bright future. Born in 1970, Whitacre began his music studies at the University of Nevada and later graduated from The Juilliard School where he studied composition with both John Corigliano and David Diamond.

Although he has composed a good deal for wind band, orchestra, and film, Whitacre is principally known for his choral works. The Philadelphia Inquirer has proclaimed him “the hottest thing in choral music.” He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Pacific Chorale in California and has served as guest conductor for numerous choral ensembles across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, and Australia. His first stage work, the “opera electronica” Paradise Lost, premiered in 2004; it combines elements of trance, electronica, and traditional classical and operatic styles.

Five Hebrew Love Songs are settings of poems by Whitacre's wife Hila Plitmann, whom he met at Juilliard. Other choral works have texts from an engaging array of voices: e.e. cummings, Edward Esch, James Joyce, Jalal al-Din Rumi, Emily Dickinson, Federico García Lorca, Edmund Waller, and the Bible.

One of Whitacre's favorite writers is the Mexican poet Octavio Paz and his setting of “Water Night” as translated by Muriel Rukeyser has become one of his most popular works with high school and college choirs. The Los Angeles Times has called “Cloudburst,” also to an Octavio Paz poem, “a work of unearthly beauty and imagination.”

Another well-known piece, “Sleep,” is a setting of a poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri. It is virtually unique in that, unlike most vocal and choral works, the music was composed first and the poem later written to fit the music.

Selected Works:
Five Hebrew Love Songs
i thank You God for most this amazing day

Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine
Lux Aurumque

Water Night
When David Heard

For more distinguished choral repertoire suggestions, please contact us.

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