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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 - I Am, I Say
  • Purchase and renovation of piano
  • Co-commissioning a new work for piano quintet and soprano to be premiered at King's Place, London in 2018/19
<em>I Am I Say</em> Kate Whitley’s NMC debut disc

I Am I Say Kate Whitley’s NMC debut disc

Kate Whitley: Viola Concerto - 3 Aria, largo (start)

Kate Whitley: 3 Violin and Piano Pieces - 1 (start)

Kate Whitley:I Am I Say (ending)

From 2010’s Viola Concerto to 2015’s joyous I Am I Say for children’s choirs (who fashion their own final verse on Sabrina Mahfouz’s opening verses), Kate Whitley’s NMC Debut Disc gives an all round picture of her compositions and way she likes to make music.  Those two works are accompanied by the orchestra she founded with conductor Christopher Stark, the Multi-Story Orchestra whose home is at Bold Tendencies, a one-time car park in Peckham, while the chamber pieces are played by friends and regular performing colleagues.

See the accompanying BBT film profile of Kate Whitley here.

Kate Whitely composer/piano

Viola Concerto
3 Pieces for Violin and Piano
5 Piano Pieces
Duo for Violin and Viola
I Am I Say

Shiry Rashkovksy viola
Rolf Hind piano
Kate Whitley piano
Eloisa-Fleur Thom violin
Asher Zaccardelli viola
Sarah-Jane Lewis soprano
Ashley Riches bass
Choirs from Kender, Lyndhurst and John Donne Primary School (JD Singers and Community Choir)
Multi-Story Orchestra
Christopher Stark conductor

NMC D229 |

Supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust

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Pianist/composer Kate Whitley introduces her NMC Debut Disc

To coincide with the release of her NMC debut disc I Am I Say (NMC D229), BBT cameras were on hand to film the final recording sessions and interview BBT Special Award winner 2014 Kate Whitley about how she planned the repertoire for the disc.  Featuring her as both composer and performer, it has allowed her to fulfil a desire to encompass so many aspects of her musical output – with children’s choirs, her Multi-Story Orchestra, instrumentalists, librettists and friends – all brought together in this one project.


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."


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.