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Classical Notes: March 19, 2009 Archive

Eric Whitacre at McDonald's

Posted at 3:05 PM on March 19, 2009 by John Birge

This weekend in Minneapolis, Eric Whitacre conducts his music with the VocalEssence Choir, St. Olaf Choir, and a 170-voice high school honor choir.

Whitacre is no stranger to fame; really, how many other choral music composers have 11,182 Facebook friends?

But even as child he'd already gotten his Warholian fifteen seconds of fame, in a McDonald's commercial. Click play to watch, and click here to read his charming blog post with the rest of the story. That's Eric with his face in the books (literally), at about 0:17!

Meanwhile, Eric stopped by Classical Minnesota Public Radio to talk about the Eric Extravaganza; we had a wonderful, wide-ranging conversation that included a look back to the past, a sneak preview of things to come (he revealed that "Paradise Lost" is coming to Carnegie Hall), and the weekend's world premiere of his new piece, "Nox Arumque."

Musicians' Brains and Emotional Subtlety

Posted at 2:22 PM on March 19, 2009 by Gillian Martin

As my spouse so often reminds me, it's not so much what a person says as how she says it that makes all the difference.

The ability to pick up subtle emotional cues in sound is an important survival skill, and a recent study at Northwestern University suggests that musical training improves that ability. Read more about it here.

Thanks to MPR's Brad Robideau for the tip.