Born in 1989, Kate Whitley is a pianist and composer whose work in bringing classical music out of the concert hall and into new contexts has been hailed as part of “the most exciting development in classical music for decades, if not centuries” (The Times, 2011). She is the co-founder and artistic director, with conductor Christopher Stark, of Multi-Story, which began with a critically acclaimed performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in a disused multi-storey Car Park in Peckham, London to an audience of more than 1,500 people. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2011 with a Double First in Music and MPhil in Composition. She began playing the piano aged four and composing aged 13, with teachers including Mark Hooper, John York, Rolf Hind and Robin Holloway. She premiered her own Concerto for Piano and Strings in 2009 under Sven Tpel at the Bishopsgate Institute, and her Wigmore Hall debut recital took place in 2012. She has been hailed as a ‘remarkable and innovative young musician of huge promise’ (Seen and Heard International, 2012), and her music has been described as ‘uniquely sensitive’ (Bachtrack, 2013), ‘exquisitely engaging' (Broadway Baby, 2011), and ‘powerfully moving’ (Edinburgh Fringe Review, 2011). She received a Sky Arts/Ideas Tap Futures Fund Bursary in 2013 and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Special Award in 2014 and was appointed 2013-4 Music Fellow at Rambert Dance Company. She has composed three operas to date: Bonesong, about a vulture making an instrument from a child’s carcass, Unknown Position, about a woman in love with a chair, and Terrible Lips, a sci-fi dance opera. “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).
Photographs by Ambra Vernuccio