Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir Take Three

Sarah Kirkup2nd Apr 2012
Eric Whitacre (Photo: Marc Royce)Eric Whitacre (Photo: Marc Royce)

Eric Whitacre, the cover star of Gramophone’s April issue, has created his third ‘virtual choir’. Water Night, unveiled tonight at the Lincoln Center in New York, will include 3746 voices from 73 countries, making it the biggest online choir in the world. The work will then be mastered into bespoken audio-visual installations in cities across the world.

Tonight’s ‘Virtual Choir 3’ will be accompanied by a Q&A with Eric Whitacre, Chris Anderson (curator of non-profit organization TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design) and composer John Corigliano. The event is part of the Young Patrons on Lincoln Center 101 series and will be streamed live on the Lincoln Center website.

Whitacre’s Virtual Choir concept started in 2009 when Whitacre fan Britlin Losee recorded a video of herself singing Sleep and posted it on YouTube. After watching it, Whitacre encouraged his online fans to purchase Polyphony’s Hyperion recording of the work, record themselves singing along and upload the result. This led to 'Virtual Choir 1.0' in which Virtual Choir members recorded Lux Aurumque, conducted by Whitacre. The video received over three million hits on YouTube. You can watch it here.


This was followed by 'Virtual Choir 2.0' early last year when nearly 2000 singers from 58 countries performed Sleep, and now 'Virtual Choir 3', the performance of Water Night cementing Whitacre’s status as mastermind of a truly global phenomenon.

The unveiled 'Virtual Choir 3' video will be available for viewing from 23.30 GMT today at Eric Whitacre’s website. Whitacre’s new Decca Album, also called ‘Water Night’, is released on April 16. 

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