From Ligeti to Sondheim, America’s choral music king chooses the CDs he can’t live without.

American composer Eric Whitacre is the undisputed poster boyof contemporary choral music, and a YouTube sensation thanks to his Virtual Choir project. By his own admission, the Juilliard-trained student of John Corigliano got into singing to impress “cute girls in the soprano section”, but he found unexpected fame while still a student with his 1992 work Cloudburst, still widely performed 20 years on and a bestseller on CD.

Judging by his list of 10 Desert Island Discs, one of the secrets of Whitacre’s success in his own luminous, accessible compositions is his broad-ranging listening habits, from the 20th century’s most profound sacred works to music theatre and sophisticated pop. Find out what’s on this choral superstar’s iPod. Decca releases his new album, Water Night,on April 16.

Eric Whitacre’s Top 10 Desert Island Discs

Part: Passio(Hilliard Ensemble)

ECM New Series 1370

Listen to: The entire piece, without interruption.
Why I love it:Easily the most influential piece on my...