THE BLOG
03/03/2011 09:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

TED 2011: The Brightest Minds in the World

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- I couldn't be more excited to be hosting the TED Studio at TED 2011 in Long Beach this week. Last year, I actually stopped by for a day to interview TED Prize winner, Jamie Oliver.

The yearly conference brings together the brightest minds and leaders in the world (1800 attendees this year to be exact) for five days of thoughtful, inspirational and informative discussions and talks.

While this super exclusive ticket is hard to come by to say the least, many have been able to become familiar with the TED brand over the past few years through their local TEDx events and talks released as videos on TED.com.

The theme this year is all about the "Rediscovery of Wonder" with 68 speakers including Roger Ebert, Bobby McFerrin, Jason Mraz, Bill Ford and even Bill Gates. If that's not impressive enough, the guest list includes a who's who as well -- from Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz and Goldie Hawn to Al Gore and Google founder Sergey Brin.

Being at TED, however, isn't just about the names you know, but rather those you don't -- stars in their own right changing the world. TED gives them a platform to share their inspiring ideas and passions.

One of the many incredible and fascinating individuals who presented yesterday bringing tears to the crowd was Eric Whitacre. Growing up, Whitacre wanted to be a rock star. He later went to Juilliard and has since become one of the most performed composers of his generation. His career made a digital shift, however, in 2010 when he discovered a fan's video on YouTube covering one of his songs:

It sparked an idea. What if he could get others to do the same and bring each video together to create a virtual choir. The result is a groundbreaking video of his piece Lux Aurumque, featuring 185 singers from 12 countries:

Since its release on March 21, 2010 it has received over 1.7 million views. His next virtual choir will be released in April 2011, including 2,000 people from 58 different countries, singing his piece, Sleep.

To follow all the conversations at TED in real time just search #TED on Twitter.

Originally posted on CBSNews.com