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Borletti-Buitoni Trust

Being a BBT winner has given me the bravery to carry on taking my own path in music. It is a massive honour to be included in such an amazing list of musicians! BBT has been an inspiration and has given me the support and confidence needed to pursue the huge challenges of making a career as a classical musician.

Kate Whitley"

Kate Whitley (b. 1989) is composer, pianist, and producer who is a 2014 Borletti Buitoni Trust Special Award Winner and received a 2013 Sky Academy Futures Fund Bursary for her work to diversify classical music: "a generation tainted by nothing except enthusiasm, daring, virtuosity and idealism is blazing onto the scene. Kate Whitley is typical of this bold new breed" (The Times, 2011).

She is the founder and Artistic Director, with conductor Christopher Stark, of The Multi-Story Orchestra, which began with a critically acclaimed performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in a disused multi-storey Car Park in Peckham. Its work has been widely acclaimed: "The response was ecstatic, and it deserved to be" (New York Times, 2015); "Forget fusty concert halls, the future of music is emerging in a municipal Car Park" (The Times, 2011);  "Anyone who doubts the value of music education should get down to this concrete jungle and watch its effects in action" (The Telegraph, 2014).

She has been hailed as a "remarkable and innovative young musician of huge promise" (Seen and Heard International, 2012), and her music described as "uniquely sensitive" (Bachtrack, 2013), "powerfully moving" (Edinburgh Fringe Review, 2011), and "a remarkable feat... with a genuine emotional gravity" (The Telegraph, 2015). She was 2013-4 Music Fellow at Rambert Dance Company, and 2015 New Music Programmer at Kettles Yard Art Gallery.

Photographs by Ambra Vernuccio

  • New photos
  • Participation in Wednesdays at Wilton's
    (25 February 2015)
  • Paying for practice facilities
  • Support for NMC Recording debut album
  • Purchase and renovation of piano


Kate Whitley plays her Five Piano Pieces
Kate Whitley opens BBT Wednesdays at Wilton’s concert series, 25 February 2015, with her own Five Piano Pieces in the main hall of Wilton’s Music Hall, London.  Kate writes: "I started playing the piano when I was four or five, and started composing when I was about sixteen. After writing a few early piano pieces (which I’d probably be very embarrassed by if I re-discovered them now), I didn’t write anything for solo piano for years. I decided to try again last year, and arranged these tiny sketches for piano. They are very gestural and fragmented, like a lot of my music. Each of them focuses on an obsession with a single note or idea."


BBT award and fellowship winners consider the pros and cons of purpose-built concert halls and other venues
How does a symphony orchestra sound in a car park? Or is it best appreciated in specially-built halls? BBT stirs the ongoing debate surrounding the idea of taking classical music out of the concert hall to imaginative and often unusual venues. Does this help cultivate new audiences? Younger audiences? Or does it compromise the music? Is taking down the barriers opening a pathway to more people enjoying classical music? Is the ultimate aim to get them into a concert hall?

These questions are addressed by a representative sample of Borletti-Buitoni Trust award and fellowship winners as they take their careers not only into new repertoire but new venues. See what ATOS Trio, Erik Bosgraaf, Alec Frank-Gemmill, Bram van Sambeek, Sean Shibe, Mark Simpson, Kate Whitley and others have to say.


Kate Whitley and Sean Shibe at Wilton’s Music Hall
On 25 February 2015 BBT award and fellowship winners, pianist Kate Whitley and guitarist Sean Shibe opened a five-month-long concert series at London’s exquisite Wilton’s Music Hall.  BBT film-maker Graham Johnston was on hand to record their impressions and plans in being presented with a carte blanche to programme whatever they wanted.  They shared the stage in the Main Hall, but from March Sean will lead BBT artists in inaugurating the newly reclaimed cocktail bar upstairs for an evening of intimate music making.