In 2016, after a visit from his longtime collaborator and friend, lyricist and poet Charles Anthony Silvestri, composer Eric Whitacre found a poem that Silvestri had left for him sitting on his piano. Silvestri had lost his wife and soul mate to cancer 12 years prior, leaving him to raise their two young children.
The poem he left Whitacre was called The Other Side of Eternity and Whitacre immediately sat down and started putting it to music. The resulting composition became part of a larger body of works based on Silvestri’s poetry titled The Sacred Veil, which was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale in February 2019.
Whitacre’s most comprehensive choral composition to date, this internationally acclaimed work, dedicated to Julie Silvestri, “memorably celebrates the precarious beauty of life, offering the welcome consolation of art and a momentary sojourn” (Los Angeles Times) against the collective fate of mankind.
The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs are honored to present this moving and poignant concert in the newly refurbished Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with Grammy Award-winning American composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre.
The culmination of the 2022 concert season, it will be Whitacre’s first appearance in Sydney in almost 10 years, since his sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House with the Chorus in 2013.
The concert program will include Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold) – one of the world’s most performed works of choral music, its luminous Sainte Chapelle and the Sydney premiere of Whitacre’s latest masterpiece, The Sacred Veil; all three created in collaboration with lyricist Silvestri.
These works will be enlivened by the virtuoso singers of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Young Adult Choir, VOX, cellist Julian Smiles and pianist Claire Howard Race. Many will remember VOX from the 2022 Sydney Festival and their collaboration with Gravity & Other Myths on the groundbreaking, sold-out, world premiere season of The Pulse. Likewise, this unique performance is guaranteed to resonate long after the final note.
Brett Weymark, Artistic and Music Director of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, said: “I have long been a huge fan of Eric’s works – which the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs have performed so many times, and have followed his career with great interest. interest. So when I heard that he was composing a major piece that would last about an hour, in the style of a modern oratorio, I flew to Los Angeles to attend the premiere. It was a profoundly We immediately hatched a plot to bring the work and Eric back to Sydney and even a pandemic couldn’t stand in our way. I’m delighted to welcome Eric back, and this extraordinary piece which is so touching, personal and affirms life. You’d be mad to miss what will be one of the musical highlights of the year.”
“The Sacred Veil is a story for all of us,” says Whitacre, “everyone has a place of pain that we can barely bear to touch” and it taps into how music – and especially singing – can help to grieve and heal.
Book now on sydneyphilharmonia.com.au/concerts/2022season/sacredveil/. Tickets start at $45 plus booking fee, $30 for under 30s. Concessions available.
The Sacred Veil was commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon – Artistic Director, Monash Academy of Performing Arts – MLIVE Melbourne and NTR ZaterdagMatinee for the Netherlands Radio Choir.
Recognized worldwide as an uplifting force in choral music, based in Los Angeles Eric Whitacre catapulted to international stardom in 2010, when he pioneered the world’s first virtual choir, bringing together 185 singers online and recording a video performance by Lux Aurumque, which has since reached millions.
Since then, he has become a virtual rock star of contemporary choral music, adored by singers and audiences around the world. The fifth iteration of his Virtual Choir project, Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of Our Universe, launched in November 2018, brought together 8,000 singers from 120 countries aged 4 to 87.
Founded in 1920, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs is Australia’s leading, largest and oldest choral organization, working with over 700 singers in six choirs. Their last two concerts for 2022 are Glorious Puccini in October and Handel’s iconic Messiah in December. Book now on sydneyphilharmonia.com.au/concerts/2022season/
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