Saturday, July 16, 2011

Soaring voices: Eric Whitacre's virtual choir

If you felt you needed an antidote to any of the previous videos, Eric Whitacre is here to help.

This is yet another presentation from TED, an organisation responsible for a large number of inspiring talks on a magnificently diverse set of topics.

Whitacre is a composer who effectively fell into this impressive project: to assemble a massive virtual choir from  audition videos submitted to YouTube.  Generalising from the videos seen, a large number of mainly 15 to 25-year-olds from all over the world watched him conduct, listened to the music on their iPods, and sang to their webcam from the privacy of their bedrooms.

The competition was quite strong, aided no doubt by an offer of singing scholarships to the top performers.

The most resonant part of his talk for me was his description of hearing a choir singing Kyrie for the first time, after years of listening to pop music and aspiring to pop stardom.  He compared it to seeing in colour for the first time after a lifetime of living in black and white.

The two virtual choir projects underpin some seriously good choral composition, and Whitacre is definitely due credit for that, and for directing such a successful result.

I had a look for one of the winning soloists he mentioned, Melody Myers.  I found her on YouTube giving a rendition of White Christmas that clearly demonstrates she is a particularly accomplished singer.  Enjoy this, and seek out that.


bazza said...

I enjoy TED a lot Stephen and Blogged about it in my 'Spotlight on a Website' series in December 2010.
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

S Simmonds said...

Ah, I missed that one. I certainly appreciate your comment that it's hard to do justice to what sounds like just a bunch of presentations. But if ever there was a trove of wide-ranging yet inspiriational talks, TED is the only place to go.