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” (SeePPn 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.
Whitely, and her Multi-Story Orchestra and Young Creatives participated in BBT’s 20th-anniversary celebrations with the premiere of Verified, at Bold Tendencies, June 2023.
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.
Photographs by Simon Weir