Entertainment TEDTalks

The live meshing of a real life and virtual chorus

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Eric Whitacre has spent most of his career conducting traditional choirs. Then, in 2009, a fan video posted to YouTube sparked a crazy idea: could he take singers from across the globe, have them sing the same piece on video, and edit it together into a virtual choir? The results of this experiment quickly went viral. And at TED2011, Whitacre spoke about the aha moment behind the choir, and debuted a new piece from the unusual ensemble.

Eric Whitacre: Virtual Choir LiveEric Whitacre: Virtual Choir LiveIn today’s talk, given at TED2013, Whitacre takes this idea to the next level — combining multiple choirs on stage with singers from 32 different countries via Skype, all of them making beautiful choral music together in real time. Watch as Whitacre conducts this group in a performance of “Cloudburst.” »

Making this unusual performance happen was no small feat. In the video above, see how it was done, and hear from singers who took part despite their far-flung locations.

“This will go in the history books,” says Lucas Speck of Brazil.

Adds Whitacre, “To have a live choir there on the stage and then these singers from different countries signing with us in real time through Skype, it’s as if there aren’t borders anymore.”

The choirs who appeared on the TED stage are from:

  • California State University, Long Beach Campus
  • California State University, Fullerton Campus
  • Riverside City College

A list of the remote singers and the countries they represent:

  • Gina Alvarado, Argentina
  • Wei Jiang, Australia
  • Lucas Mateus, Brazil
  • Ariana Del Bianco, Canada
  • Anita Yañez, Chile
  • Meg Ideker, China
  • Gan Hui Wan, Malaysia
  • Anabela Baric, Croatia
  • Annika Kukk, Estonia
  • Yohann Hamon, France
  • Alexander Utech, Germany
  • Kristín Þóra Jökulsdóttir, Iceland
  • Saikumar Prabhakaran, India
  • Christin N. Waldemar, Indonesia
  • Moshe Jonathan Gordon, Israel
  • Carol Anne Edington, Japan
  • Julia Slepenkova, Kazakhstan
  • Andreas Khalid L. Belboe, Norway
  • Von DeGuzman, Philippines
  • Joanna Trociuk, Poland
  • Herson A. Perez Valentin, Puerto Rico
  • Sandor Orbok, Romania
  • Miloš Trujić, Serbia
  • Anastassia Rakitianskaia, South Africa
  • Amy Daniels, South Korea
  • Miha Jejčič, Slovenia
  • Jonathan Souza, South Korea
  • Kuan-ming Lin, Taiwan
  • Heidi Greimann, Turkey
  • Daniel Borszik, UAE
  • Patrick Williams, UK
  • Jack Rowland, USA
  • Maria Petrova, USA
  • Jason Ekhabi Sibi-Okumu, USA