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Eric Whitacre premieres Virtual Choir 4, 'Fly to Paradise'

Whoever said classical music is boring hasn't heard of Eric Whitacre. The Reno, Nevada born composer played in marching band and dreamed of being a rock star as a teen. His Facebook page jests that he is the fifth member of Depeche Mode. His compositions have been quite popular with choirs in the Los Angeles area, particularly The Pacific Chorale which has recorded and frequently performed Whitacre's "Cloudburst" and "Water Night."

Eric Whitacre celebrates being a choir geek in true rock star fashion from his own line of merchandise.
Eric Whitacre publicity photo

July 11 he premiered his most recent project, "Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise," also known as just "Fly to Paradise." The song will be a part of the Coronation Festival Gala to honor Queen Elizabeth II, broadcast on BBC 1 TV/Radio 2 and featured on the One Show (Fri 12 July).

The "Fly to Paradise" video shows over 8,400 voices from nearly 6,000 singers representing 101 countries. The singers range in age from as young as 6 years to 98 years; and as far north as Tromsø in Norway all the way down south to Christchurch, New Zealand. The huge choir has a representative in each of the 50 United States. Each singer is a face in the windows of virtual skyscrapers.

For the first time, the Virtual Choir also features virtual soloists drawn from crowd submissions, led by Grammy® Award-winning soprano, Hila Plitmann, Whitacre's stunningly-voiced wife. The video is a record 13 minutes long - 4 minutes of song and 13 minutes of credits.

Whitacre stated, “I collaborated with renowned producer, Guy Sigsworth, to make the electronica track for Fly to Paradise. Guy is a classically trained musician with all the skills of a modern producer. We first worked together last year when he wrote a classical piece for my professional choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers. Through that process, my admiration only grew and when it came time to make Fly to Paradise, I knew that there was no one else I would rather work with.”

About releasing the song for sale, Whitacre stated via Facebook, "I desperately wanted to release the audio from Virtual Choir but was assured by a dozen different lawyers that with 101 copyright territories it would be impossible. So instead I made a version of "Fly to Paradise" with The Eric Whitacre Singers, available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. (We also made a 'radio edit' for track 2, and the brilliant instrumentals by Guy Sigsworth is track 3). Proceeds will go back into choral projects just like this one. Woo hoo!"

To find out more about Whitacre and catch a glimpse of his movie star good looks, please visit his website, And, of course, watch the video.

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