Kate Whitley (b. 1989) is composer and pianist based in South London.
She runs The Multi-Story Orchestra with conductor Christopher Stark, which performs in car parks around the UK: “forget fusty concert halls, the future of music is emerging in a municipal car park” (The Times). She writes music for concert, ballets, choirs and orchestras and her music has been broadcast on Radio 3 and performed as part of the BBC Proms.
Her piece Speak out to words by Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai was commissioned by the BBC for International Women’s Day 2017 in support of the campaign for better education for girls: ‘a powerful statement, full of kinetic energy’ (Wales Arts Review) and has since been performed by orchestras around the world. Her pieces for children’s choir and orchestra include Alive to words by poet Holly McNish, which won a 2015 British Composers Award and was described as “a remarkable feat” (The Telegraph), and I am I say to words by Sabrina Mahfouz, described as “a tremendous work” (The Times).
In 2018 she wrote Sky Dances for the London Symphony Orchestra, which was performed by an orchestra of over 100 in Trafalgar Square conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Winning a 2018 Critics Circle Award, she has been described as a composer with “a strong, distinctive voice who, without compromising, communicates directly to a wide audience, within the concert hall and beyond”.
NMC Recordings released a CD of her music in March 2017, called I am I say: “unpretentious, appealingly vigorous and visceral” (The Guardian); a fresh and individual creative voice” (BBC Music Magazine); “make no mistake, Kate Whitley is a composer to watch” (Gramophone).