Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre has inspired millions by bringing together “virtual choirs,” singers from many countries spliced together on video. Now, for the first time ever, he creates the experience in real time, as 32 singers from around the world Skype in to join an onstage choir (assembled from three local colleges) for an epic performance of Whitacre’s “Cloudburst,” based on a poem by Octavio Paz.

Why you should listen to him:

Eric Whitacre began his music career singing in his college choir; by 21, he had written his first concert work, Go, Lovely Rose, and advanced to Juilliard, where he studied under John Corigliano. Today, he has published more than four dozen choral works, conducted in some of the most esteemed halls in the world, and featured on dozens of recordings. His album Cloudburst and Other Choral Works earned him a Grammy nomination in 2007, as did his Decca debut Light & Gold, while his new album, Water Night, debuted at #1 in US iTunes classical charts.

You may know him, too, as the creator and conductor of the virtual choir, a network of YouTube-connected singers whose voices blend together online to become true magic. And he’s now touring with the Eric Whitacre Signers, a 28-voice choir (yes, they’re all in the same room).

“What hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension. This is music that can actually make you smile.”

The BBC