Stories from Northwestern (Part 3)

Me and Eric Whitacre


Can you believe it? This happened.

For those of you who can’t recognize the beautiful flowing mane of hair, that is Eric Whitacre on the left and myself on the right. I knew that going to a prestigious university with a world-renowned music school would have perks, but I never even dreamed that I would get to meet him.

During the course of about three hours, he rehearsed his piece Lux Aurumque with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, held a Q&A session and a meet-and-greet. Watching him rehearse his piece with a choir, especially a piece that I so dearly love, was not only informative but inspiring. His answers to the questions thrown at him, especially the ones asked by student composers at Northwestern, encouraged me not to be discouraged by the pressures of the institution and keep striving through my studies. Apparently the academic pressure to write New Music was something that he also had to struggle with during his time in academia, and his encouraging words made me feel like I could still keep true to myself and my music while still doing well in school as a composer.

The picture was taken during the meet-and-greet, where I had the chance to tell him personally how much he has and continues to inspire me both as a composer and a human being. And while he probably has those kinds of comments thrown at him every day, I’d like to think I still made a difference. Maybe one day I’ll run into him in the streets of London and he’ll say hi.

Or not. I really couldn’t care less, as long he continues making his beautiful music and I get the chance to do the same.