US composer: Latvians are a great singing nation

Latvians are nation of great singers and have fascinating choral culture, says acclaimed US composer Eric Whitacre who's in Riga as presenter of the Eurovision Choir of the Year competition taking place on July 22.

The fascinating conversation with Latvian Radio's Māra Rozenberga ranges from Whitacre's early self-schooling in pop to his entry into choral music and the ambition to write a song for Depeche Mode. Inter alia, Whitacre presents his views of choral singing and what it means for the body and mind.

He also shares his views of Latvians as a nation of singers and pays deference to Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.

"I know the [Latvian] Radio Choir, of course. I know this general idea that Latvians sing and that there's beautiful choirs all over. I know the Song Festival and these massive group-sings."

"And I know Ēriks Ešenvalds, the young Latvian composer. I just conducted a piece of his two weeks ago at a concert with the BBC singers in London"

"[It was] 'Stars'. It's so beautiful. He's got a singular voice and somehow captures this... translucence of the sound. I think because of his music I've imagined Latvia in a certain way. I'll see over the next days whether it rings true," he said.

Whitacre also describes his Virtual Choir projects that bring individual voices from around the globe together into online choirs.

Press Play at the start of the article to hear the full interview.

The winner of the Eurovision Choir of the Year for amateur choirs will be announced July 22. It is organized by the European Broadcasting Union and will be shown in Latvia by LTV1 at 9 p.m. Riga time.

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