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looking for more composers that sound like Eric Whitacre

Will someone give me a list of names of modern choral composers that have a similar sound or style to Whitacre? thanks.
Replies (39): Threaded | Chronological
on June 11, 2011 2:44am
Though his music is quite different in many ways, Morten Lauridsen is the first name to jump out as an answer.  Perhaps Ola Gjello as well.
on June 11, 2011 10:00am
i checked out lauridsen but he seemed to be doing different stuff. his stuff was alittle more polyphonic and palestrina sounding, also very tonal. does he have some more modern works that are similar to whitacre's coloristic sound?
on June 11, 2011 1:45pm
Brandon:  Perhaps it would be helpful if you would provide YOUR definition of what you consider Whitacre's "sound" or "style."  And preferably a definition that would make sense to someone not familiar with all of Whitacre's music.
All the best,
on June 11, 2011 4:56am
PHILIP STOPFORD. On "YouTube - philip stopford" you can hear works such as Love Never Ends; Beatitudes; Ave Verum; or the very short I have chosen you. Music is available from, and composer contactable at,
on June 11, 2011 7:50am
Ola Gjeilo?  I always thought Mr. Whitacre sounds like Schnittke.
on June 11, 2011 8:23am
You should listen to works by Terry Schlenker. Several of his works have been published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers, another by Walden press.
on June 11, 2011 8:25am
Lauridsen was the first who came to mind for me as well, although again it's hard to really say as "similar" will depend a lot on what you're listening for.
My advice--go to Pandora Radio ( I think) and set up an account, and create an "Eric Whitacre" station.  The computer itself will decide what composers it thinks you will like.  You'll have to tell it a couple times you don't think Tallis sounds like Whitacre (dumb computer), but you'll also probably get a good number of slightly less well-known composers with some lovely stuff...
Good luck!
on June 13, 2011 7:24am
wonderful idea! didn't think about that.
on June 11, 2011 8:54am
Don't know about sounding like Whitacre, but to hear works by a modern choral composer that sounds like Jonathan Santore, please visit:
All best!
Jonathan Santore
on June 11, 2011 10:03am
also if there are any more sacred composers that are doing stuff like whitacre, that'd be great to know about too. 
on June 11, 2011 10:19am
Brandon -
What exactly do you mean by "doing stuff like whitacre" or "choral composers that have a similar sound or style to Whitacre"?  IMHO, each composer has a distinct style.
on June 11, 2011 1:39pm
Are you looking for lux aurumque/water night whitacre, animal crackers whitacre, or leonardo dreams whitacre?
on June 11, 2011 2:25pm
Hi - the setting of Ubi Caritas by Paul Mealor that was sung at the Royal Wedding in Westminster Abbey recently might fit the bill (you can find it easily on YouTube). And have you come across the English composer Gabriel Jackson? He writes a little more polyphonically than Whitacre at times, but does have some colours in common. There is rather a good recording of some of his stuff
O Sacrum Convivium is very beautiful, but there are a lot of other great pieces as well. 
on June 12, 2011 4:27am
Howard Helvey's "O Lux Beatissima" is a beautiful piece in the style.  Most of Helvey's pieces are accompanied (TERRIFIC accompaniments!) but this is a little a cappella gem.  I think not as difficult for a church choir as Whitacre, but with similar effect.
on June 12, 2011 5:42am
Might I suggest a wonderful composer, Nathan Jones?  His "I would live in your love" is a stunning gem.  "Newlyweds" is also a nice piece.  He was inspired in part by Whitacre's music and has some similar elements.
on June 12, 2011 5:51am
Perhaps some selections by Canadian composer, Imant Raminsh?  Just a thought...
on June 12, 2011 8:14am
Blake Henson
Joshua Shank
Eric Barnum

They have all written some beautiful choral music that has similar sound. I like Blake Henson's My Flight For Heaven and Dream A While and Eric Barnum's Lady In the Water. (if by similar you mean chord stacking, etc) My choirs love singing Whitacre, but you just can't program the same composer on every concert. (at least you shouldn't) I've offered pieces by these composers as alternatives that my Whitacre obsessed choir and they've really enjoyed them.

Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 12, 2011 8:49am
Paul Mealor has written some tunes with a "Whitacre-esk" sounding harmonies (i.e.: lots of 9ths and 4ths in the chord). Since one of his tunes was done at the recent Royal Wedding, good luck trying to get the sheet music in a timely fashion.
You might go to the site listed below for a FREE download of 150 pieces for ATBarB choir (usable at Compline), some of which have the Whitacre sound. All of our Complines have been recorded for the site if you want to hear how the stuff sounds.
I've transposed music by both Lauridsen and Gjielo from TTBB up a minor third to ATBarB and it works exceptionally well. The originals had too many low thirds which just muddied the waters. These, of course do not appear on the FREE download as they are not in PD.
You might try CPDL and download all the music of my friend Charles Giffen. Compelling, recently composed music, much of it for ATBarB with a mystical sound.
regards, as always, jefe de complin
on June 12, 2011 9:17am
I really would prefer an entire concert of Barn Burners! (qv)
on June 13, 2011 7:40am
Let me clarify alittle bit. I love Whitacres free floating style, generall a capella (not to exclude his exquisite rhthmic sequences in some pieces such as With a Lily in Your Hand, and Leonardo), coloristic nuance, cluster chords, exciting build up passages, incredible text painting with unconventional colors, textures, and harmonies, great use of variety among voices, I could go on. It would be nice to know of some more composers to study that are also on the cutting edge in this way.
Also, I assume Lauridsen's newer stuff is more Whitacre sounding? I looked into him some but what I found must have been older stuff. What are some pieces by Lauridsen that are Whitacre-like?
on June 13, 2011 3:12pm
Brandon Hall writes:
"I love Whitacres [sic] free floating style, generall [sic] a capella [sic] (not to exclude his exquisite rhthmic sequences in some pieces such as With a Lily in Your Hand, and Leonardo), coloristic nuance, cluster chords, exciting build up passages, incredible text painting with unconventional colors, textures, and harmonies, great use of variety among voices, I could go on. It would be nice to know of some more composers to study that are also on the cutting edge in this way."
I respond:
Given those criteria, might I suggest Lassus?
Best regards,
Jerome Hoberman
on June 13, 2011 10:59am
For fat squishy clusters, transcendent shimmerings, and good ambiguous harmonic progressions, definitely, Lauridsen, Raminsh, & Mealor, but also look at Philip Moore, Ruth Henderson, Tomas Dusatko, Rupert Lang, Aaron McDermid.  Some Gorecki and Biebl. 
on June 14, 2011 8:38am
Excellent. What are some of Lauridsen's pieces that are similar in this way?
on June 14, 2011 1:18pm
You should look at John Hoybe, a Danish composer who has some of the qualities you describe liking in Whitacre.  He has settings of three motets that are beautiful.  I recorded the Haec Dies and you can find it on Youtube.
Good luck
Steve Dresen
on June 14, 2011 1:58pm
For multi-cultural influences and unusual forms and settings, take a look at Stephen Hatfield's work.  His website is a great guide to his style and repertoire:
And, of course, if you really want to go toward the avant-garde, look at R. Murray Schafer's choral works, the most famous of which is Epitaph for Moonlight.
N. Curry
on June 15, 2011 6:16am
I recommend Benedictus by Ilyas Iliya. Stunning a cappella with tonal colors that reminded me of Whitacre and several other composers mentioned in this thread. It's unpublished, but ping me and I can put you in touch with the composer.

Here is a YouTube excerpt (although it stops right when the music starts to get really juicy):

- Kathleen

on June 15, 2011 7:19am
I think that Whitacre in person is the only one that can say if there is a composer that sounds similar to his style. 
Have a nice day!
Ivo Antognini
music composer
on June 16, 2011 9:29am
Dan Forrest is a great up and coming composer.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 16, 2011 6:18pm
Have you heard of "Earth Song" by Frank Ticheli - very accessible for a good HS Choir and older. You might also listen to the music of Paul Mealor ("Ubi Caritas" from the Royal Wedding.)
Best Wishes,
on August 9, 2011 9:04am
I've referred to Tarik O'Regan's outstanding work as a sort-of English Whitacre style...
on August 9, 2011 12:33pm
I am happy to be of the opinion that Tarik O'Regan sounds like Tarik O'Regan, whose music shodul be more widely known.
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on August 9, 2011 11:49am
I find it intriquing that you find Lauridsen not close enough to Whitaker, when Whitaker aknowledges Lauridsen as his compositional inspiration. You might look to the music of James Whitborne, Paul Mealor, Karl Jenkins, Gabriel Jackson, Arvo Part, John Tavener to name just a few 
on August 10, 2011 5:39am
Is it the "nirvana-esque" quality that you seek? Try writing your own "stuff" while still in a trance/mood after listening to your ideal/star!
Phillip Copland asked if we had our own "choral rock star" not so long ago. I think it was he!
Ed P
on August 14, 2011 8:26am
A few of my pieces have excited some Whitacre fans and won comparison with his music. There are some recordings on my website ( of three that I would recognise as inhabiting a similar soundworld: There is no rose, Give ear, O ye heavens and, most obviously, Drop down, ye heavens.
on August 15, 2011 1:13pm
Look at the works of William Hawley.  Yesterday and today we'll be performing his "O Maria, Maris Stella" which has scrunchy closely voices chords that give that floating feel.
Simon Berry
on August 17, 2011 7:21am
If you're looking for contemporary choral music that is of unique textural substance and harmonically intriguing, I recommend some of my compositions:
Jake Runestad
Applauded by an audience of 1
on August 18, 2011 8:24am
Dear Brandon,
If you are looking for a contemporary composer whose choral music is exquiste, be sure to check out Richard Toensing, His recent works, the Kontakion on the Natvity of Christ (double choir) and Magnificat (women's choir & harp) are beautiful gems. Here are a few YouTube links to listen to:

Let me know if you'd like additional information about these works and how to order scores.

Janet Braccio
on August 20, 2011 2:36am
Brandon -- You started an interesting discussion!  Like most good composers, Eric Whitacre doesn't always sound the same, but has some recognizable, recurring characteristics.  It's fascinating that some people respond to certain elements, e.g. floating feel, shimmering, cluster chords, while others cite different licks, e.g. rhythmic sequences, intriguing harmonies, text painting.
A few singers tell me my work reminds them of Whitacre, mentioning "Three Latin Prayers."  These pieces do use Renaissance choral techniques with 21st-century harmony, so maybe they have a point.  You should judge for yourself.
Good luck, 
Christopher J. Hoh
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