Eric Whitacre

Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, is among today’s most popular musicians. His works are programmed worldwide and his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from more than 145 countries. Born in Nevada in 1970, Eric is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music (New York). He completed his second and final term as Artist in Residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2020 following five years as Composer in Residence at the University of Cambridge (UK).

His compositions have been widely recorded and his debut album as a conductor on Universal, Light, and Gold, went straight to the top of the charts, earning him a Grammy.  As a guest conductor, he has drawn capacity audiences to concerts with many of the world’s leading orchestras and choirs in venues such as Carnegie Hall (New York), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), the Royal Albert Hall, and Buckingham Palace (London).  Insatiably curious and a lover of all types of music, Eric has worked with legendary Hollywood composers Hans Zimmer, John Powell, and Jeff Beal as well as British pop icons Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap, and Annie Lennox.  Major classical commissions have been written for the BBC Proms, Minnesota Orchestra, Rundfunkchor Berlin, The Tallis Scholars, Chanticleer, Cincinnati Pops, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Children’s Chorus of America, and The King’s Singers.

In 2018 his composition for symphony orchestra and chorus, Deep Field, became the foundation for a collaboration with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Music Productions, and 59 Productions.  The film was premiered at Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, Florida), has been seen at arts and science festivals across the world.  Deep Field has been performed in concert on several continents, and with simultaneous film projection by the New World Symphony, New World Center (Miami), Brussels Philharmonic, Flagey (Brussels), Bergen Philharmonic, Grieghallen (Bergen) among other great orchestras.   His long-form work for choir, cello, and piano, The Sacred Veil, is a profound meditation on love, life, and loss.  It was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2019, conducted by the composer, and will be released on Signum Records in 2020.

Widely considered to be the pioneer of Virtual Choirs, Eric created his first project as an experiment in social media and digital technology. Virtual Choir 1: Lux Aurumque was published in 2010 and featured 185 singers from 12 countries. Ten years-on in 2020, Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently – written for the Virtual Choir during the global pandemic that shook the world, COVID-19 – featured 17,562 singers from 129 countries. Previous Virtual Choir projects include ‘Glow’ written for the Winter Dreams holiday show at Disneyland© Adventure Park, California, and the Virtual Youth Choir, a major fundraiser for UNICEF.  To date, the Virtual Choirs have registered over 60 million views and have been seen on global TV.

A charismatic speaker, Eric Whitacre has given keynote addresses for many Fortune 500 companies, in education and global institutions from Apple and Google to the World Economic Forum in Davos and the United Nations Speaker’s Program. His mainstage talks at the influential TED conference in Long Beach CA received standing ovations. His collaboration with Spitfire Audio resulted in a trail-blazing vocal sample library, became an instant best-seller, and is used by composers the world over.

3 words to describe Nature?

Breathe. Connected. Right.

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

The high desert in Northern Nevada

Regent’s Park, London

Big Sur, California

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Open and alive

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Ancient, quiet

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

How small I truly am, and how vast is our universe

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Yes! I think I have all four of those places deep in my heart.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

When I was young I lived in the desert. Northern Nevada, high in the Sierras, my childhood filled with endless sky. I would spend my days outside, the natural world vibrating all around me, mystical, magical. I believed I could speak to falcons. I believed I could shape the wind. And I believed the veil between the real world and the dream world was just an illusion, that if I quieted myself enough I could slip freely between the two worlds. I think I still believe that.

Dana Romanoff

Dana Romanoff is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist and filmmaker dedicated to making a difference in the world. Whether she is sleeping on animal skins in Ethiopia, hunting with tribes in the jungles of West Papua, driving around with gang bangers in the U.S. or summiting 19,000 foot peaks with adaptive climbers, her work is intimate, layered and soulful and creates relationships and reveals inner lives. Her award-winning imagery, films and commercials foster understanding and create change.

She has received prestigious awards and recognition for tackling significant social issues including her recent film “Noah" which was featured on Upworthy, The Guardian, The Atlantic, RYOT and National Geographic Digital Showcase and won awards at the 2017 W3 Awards, Telly Awards and Communicator Awards and the 2017 Spirit of Activism Special Jury Award at the Crested Butte Film Festival. As co-Director and Director of Photography of National Park Experience, an independent film series celebrating diversity and youth in the National Parks, her documentaries have been broadcasted on PBS and Smithsonian Channel. “Confluence” a feature length doc released in 2018 is currently winning awards touring festivals and universities. Another short film, “Canyon Song” won the 2017 Director’s Choice Award at Flagstaff Mountain Festival, 2017 Award of Merit in the Best Shorts Competition and the 2017 Social Awareness Award at Wasatch Mountain Film Festival. Dana's work is syndicated with Getty Reportage and she is a Getty Global Assignments Photographer, Blue Earth Awarded Photographer and a Director working with Stept Studios and Blue Chalk Media. Her clients include National Geographic Magazine, New York Times, Esquire, Forbes, GQ, Men's Journal, National Geographic Traveler, The Sunday Times, USA Today, UNICEF, and many others.

In 2019, she directed a short film for Budweiser, “For The Fathers Who Stepped Up”, which has been viewed 3.3M times on the Budweiser YouTube channel only.

3 words to describe Nature?

Connected. Necessary. Healing

3 things Nature taught you?

Nature is one of the greatest teachers. 

I’ve learned that nature doesn’t need us, but we need nature. 

That all living things are connected. 

That we should cooperate, not compete with nature. 

3 most treasured Nature spots?

My family home on a tiny lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  

An incredible waterfall pouring from the jungles of West Papua, Indonesia into the Indian ocean.

A blooming field of wildflowers surrounded by the Rocky Mountain FlatIrons  along the Mesa Trail in my backyard in Boulder, Colorado. 

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Humbled and inconsequential 

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

A sense of security 

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

I haven’t seen that many volcanos!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Reflective and grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?  

Energized and on alert 

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

Uneasy. Howling wind makes any situation more epic whether it be dodging shopping carts while walking through a parking lot or precariously balanced on a 14,000 ft ridge. 

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?  

I would probably say Forrest. A person’s true nature emerges in the deep woods. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

A 10. On a high level, without a healthy earth and nature we are in big trouble. As an individual, my mental and physical health is very closely linked to my time spent in nature. 

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I remember my first backcountry camping experience near a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. I had heard the warnings about bears and was very aware of the food I was carrying in my backpack and needed to suspend in a bear bag from the towering pine trees. That night in my tent I was on high alert.  Every branch that snapped I was sure was a bear. Feeding my anxiety was a deep growl that repeated for many hours. When I could not take the fear any longer I screamed out and awoke my friends, more experienced backpackers, in the next tent over. They listened cautiously until they deducted that it was most definitely a bullfrog.