GRAMMY-Winning Composer and Conductor Eric Whitacre Joins Ranks of Acclaimed Yamaha Artists

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Whitacre is among today’s most popular musicians, having had his compositions recorded worldwide and his debut album as a conductor on Universal, Light and Gold, go straight to the top of the charts, earning a GRAMMY Award

Eric Whitacre Photo credit: Marc Royce

“Eric is such a force for change and good in this world. We have long been fans of the way he generates empathy and compassion through musical service...We are thrilled to partner with Eric to develop large, impactful projects that bring people together through music,” said John Wittmann, Yamaha.

Groundbreaking composer and conductor Eric Whitacre has been named to the roster of renowned Yamaha Artists—a formalization of a years-long relationship that promises to bolster both the artist’s and music company’s global impact on the field of music education.

It is in this arena where Whitacre finds a particular kindred spirit in the people at Yamaha. “The focus that Yamaha places on education makes me incredibly happy. There is scientific data to show that just coming together and playing music makes kids better students in all disciplines; it seems to me that it would be a core part of any curriculum. I’m reminded of the saying that a society becomes great when the elderly plant trees whose shade they know they’ll never enjoy; that feels very much like the effort behind music education to me. It’s building for a future society.”

“Eric is such a force for change and good in this world. We have long been fans of the way he generates empathy and compassion through musical service,” said John Wittmann, senior director, Artist Relations and Education. “His sincere drive to inspire and uplift the humanity perfectly aligns with our own aspirations to improve quality of life through musical expression and enjoyment. We are thrilled to partner with Eric to develop large, impactful projects that bring people together through music.”

Whitacre is among today’s most popular musicians, having had his compositions recorded worldwide and his debut album as a conductor on Universal, Light and Gold, go straight to the top of the charts, earning a GRAMMY Award.

In 2010, he debuted the first of his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs, featuring 185 singers from 12 countries who recorded videos of themselves singing to a shared video of Whitacre conducting, then uploaded them for Whitacre to synchronize and assemble into a single, mass performance. That video went viral, and a decade and multiple editions later, his “Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently” – written during the global pandemic –featured an incredible 17,562 singers from 129 countries, the biggest virtual choir ever assembled. To date, the Virtual Choirs have registered over 60 million views and have been seen on global television.

Speaking of his affinity towards Yamaha, Whitacre says that he has long been drawn to classic Yamaha pianos, which have been a part of his composition process and music-making for more than a decade and a half.

“Back in 2004, I could finally afford my first piano, and I bought a Yamaha C3,” Whitacre relates. “That’s been my piano for the last 16 years.”

He recalls acquiring a Yamaha C7 as well earlier last year, remarking, “I think ‘magical’ is the best way to describe it.”

Whitacre speaks of his plans for upcoming contributions to music education, despite the strictures placed on him by the global pandemic: “I've done over 200 master classes since the whole COVID crisis started, some of them literally sat by my Yamaha. I'm going to make a whole master class video series about the creative process. I'll take 10 or 12 of my pieces, each one of them will get its own video and I'll break it down and talk about the construction and the machinery that's working within them and why I wrote them.”

Adds Wittmann: “Our mission at Yamaha is to create more music makers and help people love music more. In order to accomplish this, we know that we all must challenge the status quo, to find powerful, new ways to inspire and connect with the world. Eric is a thought leader in this area, and the perfect partner to help us achieve it. While Yamaha makes world-class instruments and provides great opportunities, Eric brings immense creativity and projects to millions of people at a time, in a way we haven’t done before. Yamaha has the resources to enable Eric to dream even bigger.”

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About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is the largest subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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Peter Giles