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A Virtual Choir for the Ages at TED2013

Is there an equation to making a brilliant musical experience?  We think Eric Whitacre might have found at least one such formula:

  • 100 live choir members made up of singers from choirs at California State University, Long Beach Campus, California State University, Fullerton Campus and Riverside City College, +
  • 30 singers from 28 different countries connected via Skype video calls, =
  • A musical masterpiece.

Whitacre, a Grammy-award winning composer, conductor and lecturer is famous for many musical accomplishments, but his Virtual Choir series, which was first performed on stage at TED in 2011, made him a household name.  His Live Global Virtual Choir performance described above made its debut three weeks ago at the conclusion of the TED2013 conference.

No one has ever attempted to put a live choir together with a virtual one. In part, this is due to possible latency-related delays that may be introduced by the Internet connection.  As the TED2013 blog describes, ‘it’s less than a second, but in singing, that is still a potentially huge problem.’ Whitacre adapted “Cloudburst,” one of his earliest pieces, to embrace the potential for network latency.  Check out the Live Global Virtual Choir’s performance for yourself here:

Attendees at TED, choir members and people across the Internet were astonished, too, and took to the #LVC1 and #TED2013 hashtags on Twitter to express their excitement. But how did Whitacre pull off such a complicated feat?  Look no further than our “behind the scenes” documentary video below:

The performance is just the latest in Whitacre’s series of Virtual Choirs, which he first started four years ago.  His first Virtual Choir, Aurumque, has received over 3 million views on YouTube and featured 185 singers from 12 different countries.  Virtual Choir 2.0, Sleep, was released in April 2011 and involved over 2,000 participants from 58 countries. Virtual Choir 3, Water Night, received 3,746 submissions from 73 counties and launched simultaneously at Lincoln Center, New York and online in April 2012. Skype is thrilled that he decided to embrace our video calling technology to bring his latest masterpiece to life!

7 thoughts on “A Virtual Choir for the Ages at TED2013

  1. Pingback: Skype Teams with Grammy Winner Eric Whitacre to Make Beautiful Music at TED2013 | News to Watch

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