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Classical 101

Eric Whitacre and Capital University's Lynda Hasseler Talk About Choir Stuff – and A New Project

Once a choir geek, always a choir geek.

At least, that's pretty much where rock star choral music composer Eric Whitcareis these days - well, there and also here, in Columbus, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Capital University's Conservatory of Music.

Whitacre returned to Columbus this week as featured guest in the conservatory’s centennial gala concerts – 100 Years of Music at Capital University – Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Capital’s Mees Hall Auditorium.

Friends and colleagues for more than 15 years, Whitacre and Lynda Hasseler, director of choral activities at Capital Universty's Conservatory of Music, will conduct the Capital University Chapel Choir, Choral Union and Chapel Choir Alumni in performances of some of Whitacre’s works on the Friday and Saturday gala concerts.

The three of us sat down onstage in Capital’s Huntington Recital Hall for a conversation about the gala concerts and all things choir, including what it really means to sing in a choir, why Hasseler says everyone should sing every day and what Hasseler has to say about fostering the current and future generations of Capital's esteemed choral tradition.

Even as one of the world's most important composers of choral music today, Whitacre, who during his undergraduate years described himself as the ultimate "choir geek," says he's still a choir geek. Watch the video below to hear what he says about some of the most significant influences on his music, and for his big public announcement about the exciting new project he’s working on right now beyond the realm of choral music.

The Conservatory’s gala concerts also will feature the world premieres of a percussion concerto by U.K.-based composer Dave Maric, performed with the Capital University Symphonic Winds by percussion soloist and Capital University alumnus Cameron Leech, and a work for chamber ensemble and electronics by composer and Capital University alumnus Mat Morse.

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Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.