Sarah-Jane Lewis (born 1987) is a British soprano opera singer. Lewis graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2009 and received her diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in 2013. She than finished her education at the National Opera Studio in 2014.
Lewis has won multiply awards including the Hampshire National Singing Competition in 2013, earning a prize of UK £6,000. In 2014, she won second place behind Christina Gansch at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards. The Times described Lewis as "a warm, capacious soprano, its strength powerfully contained and focused throughout its wide register. And her wonderfully serene and assured stage presence reaches out to her audience,"
As of 2015, Lewis is currently a guest artist for the Henley Symphony Orchestra.
British Bass-Baritone Ashley Riches was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden having previously studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at King’s College Cambridge. Ashley has already established himself in both opera and concerts with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stephen Cleobury, Sir Roger Norrington, Paul McCreesh, Jonathan Cohen, Robin Ticciati, Jan Latham-Koenig, David Hill and Richard Egarr. His broad repertoire includes Britten, Puccini, Mozart and Handel.
Shiry Rashkovsky was born in London to a musical family. She began her artistic education aged five under the guidance of her parents, violin pedagogues Itzhak Rashkovsky and Ani Schnarch, and later studied with Natasha Boyarska and Ian Jewel at the Royal College of Music. A versatile musician, her performances have taken her across the globe to such venues as the Tel Aviv Opera House and Geneva Victoria Hall, including engagements for HRH Prince Charles and the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Shiry has performed in masterclasses for Ida Haendel, Gyorgy Pauk, Kim Kashkashian, Thomas Riebl, Haim Taub, Lars Anders Tomter, Hillel Zori and Alf Richard Kraggerud. As a chamber musician, she has performed alongside the distinguished Shmuel Ashkenasi, Shlomo Mintz, Atar Arad, Rudolf Koelman, Edith Peinemann, Evgenia-Maria Popova, Stephan Barratt-Due, Walter Delahunt, Hagai Shaham, and Latica Honda-Rosenberg, to name but a few. Since 2010 she has been invited to participate in the prestigious Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Sessions, where she has given concerts with Ian Brown, Adrian Brendel, Min Jin Kym, Pekka Kuusisto and Viviane Hagner, among others. She has participated in numerous festivals, including Keshet Eilon International Mastercourse, the Bowdoin, Harmos, Soesterberg and Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festivals, and Prussia Cove International Musicians Seminar. Since 2009 she has been a faculty member of the New Virtuosi International Mastercourse, where she supervises talented young artists from all over the world.
Eloisa-Fleur Thom is a prize-winning violinist, director and curator. Highlights of her career so far have included performing J.S Bach's Concerto for two violins with the celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov, and chamber music with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (LCO soloists). In the past few years Eloisa-Fleur has given performances at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, the Ashmolean Museum's 'Stradivarius' exhibition, Leeds International Concert Series, St George’s Bristol, been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and collaborated with Rambert Dance Company & composer Kate Whitley. Eloisa-Fleur is the Artistic Director and Leader of 12 ensemble, a virtuosic un-conducted string orchestra of a dozen young elite musicians who are currently taking the London music scene by storm. They recently performed at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016 alongside Max Richter. Eloisa-Fleur held a 2015/16 creative residency at Heima in Seydisfjordur, Iceland.
Kate Whitley (b. 1989) is composer and pianist based in South London. She runs The Multi-Story Orchestra with Christopher Stark, which is based in a car park in Peckham as part of Bold Tendencies. She won a 2014 Borletti- Buitoni Trust Special Award and a 2013 Sky Academy Futures Fund Bursary. Her 2014 piece Alive to words by Holly McNish won a British Composers Award and was described as ‘a remarkable feat, with a genuine emotional gravity’ (The Telegraph). She has been hailed as a ‘remarkable and innovative young musician’ (Seen and Heard International), and her music described as ‘uniquely sensitive’ (Bachtrack) and ‘powerfully moving’ (Edinburgh Fringe Review). She was 2013 Music Fellow at Rambert Dance Company and 2015 New Music Programmer at Kettles Yard Art Gallery. Her music for Flight by choreographer Malgorzata Dzierzon for Rambert toured the UK in 2016. Her opera Paws and Padlocks with librettist Sabrina Mahfouz was commissioned by Blackheath Opera for their community opera programme and is about two children who get trapped in a zoo overnight. Her piece Speak out, using words taken from Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 UN speech, was commissioned by the BBC for International Women’s Day 2017.
Multi-Story is a project that brings classical music to unexpected places, run by composer Kate Whitley and conductor Christopher Stark.
It has been resident orchestra at Bold Tendencies in a multi-storey Car Park in Peckham, London since 2011.
Its performances, which have included Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Sibelius’ Symphony no. 5 and Brahms’ Symphony no. 1, have attracted audiences of more than 1,000 people: “Where are classical music’s next generations of listeners? They were there, before us, a thousand of them” (The Arts Desk, 2011). Its unusual approach to presenting classical music has been widely celebrated: “no gimmicks, not even a spoken introduction, just raucous applause and hard, keen listening from the shocked, fascinated and enchanted crowd who came to listen” (Gramophone, 2014).
The Orchestra has been broadcast by Sky TV and Channel 4, and featured in BBC 4’s 2013 documentary ‘The Sound and the Fury’, and in 2015 and 2016 Multi-Story was shortlisted for an RPS award for an outstanding initiative to engage audiences with classical music.
Multi-Story also regularly performs in schools and working with amassed school and community groups who perform specifically commissioned pieces with The Orchestra: “Anyone who doubts the value of music education should get down to this concrete jungle and watch its effects in action” (The Telegraph, 2014).
Christopher is conductor and co-Artistic Director with composer Kate Whitley of the RPS Award Winning Multi-Story Orchestra. In 2016 Christopher is making his BBC Proms debut with the Multi-Story Orchestra in a programme of Steve Reich pieces. He has been assistant conductor at the BBC Proms, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera, who awarded him the Lefever prize for his work on the 2014 production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and in masterclasses with Jorma Panula, Sir Mark Elder and Sian Edwards.
Asher studied at St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh before going on to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied with Garfield Jackson. Since graduating, he has worked with various orchestras around the UK as a freelance violist including, most recently, the English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Chamber Orchestra, the 12 ensemble (Principal Viola) and the Scottish Ballet Orchestra (Principal Viola). Asher has been violist of the Ruisi String Quartet since 2014 and performs regularly around the UK and overseas as a chamber musician..
- 01. Viola Concerto: I Recitative, Allegro impetuoso4'42"
- 02. Viola Concerto: II Intermezzo, moderato2'46"
- 03. Viola Concerto: III Aria, largo4'13"
- 04. Viola Concerto: IV Cadenza, vivace3'30"
- 05. 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano I3'48"
- 06. 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano II4'32"
- 07. 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano III2'23"
- 08. 5 Piano Pieces I0'42"
- 09. 5 Piano Pieces II1'10"
- 10. 5 Piano Pieces III0'56"
- 11. 5 Piano Pieces IV1'34"
- 12. 5 Piano Pieces V1'07"
- 13. Duo for Violin and Viola11'12"
- 14. I am I say12'46"
The Multi-Story Orchestra
Christopher Stark conductor
Choirs from Kender, Lyndhurst and
John Donne Primary Schools (JD Singers and Community Choir)
Ashley Riches bass
Sarah-Jane Lewis soprano
Shiry Rashkovsky viola
Asher Zaccardelli viola
Eloisa-Fleur Thom violin
Kate Whitley piano
Rolf Hind piano
This new release by Kate Whitley in NMC's Debut Discs series comprises a wide-ranging repertoire – from piano miniatures and chamber works to a concerto and the album title track for children’s choir and The Multi-Story Orchestra. With lyrics by poet Sabrina Mahfouz that imagine a world which ‘beats with beauty’ and cautions against human abuse of nature around us, I am I say is performed by soprano Sarah-Jane Lewis, bass Ashley Riches and a choir made up of children from three South London primary schools.
The wildly expressive Viola Concerto was Kate’s first orchestral work and was written for Shiry Rashkovsky when they were both students. 5 Piano Pieces, recorded here by pianist Rolf Hind, is made up of five self-contained movements – declamatory, spacious, aggressive, sad and triumphant – each comprising repeated sections evoking a different and distinct mood. 3 Violin and Piano Pieces is inspired by Janáček’s Viola Sonata and has a similarly tense and fragmentary character, with beautiful intertwined dialogue between both instruments and Duo for Violin and Viola was written for a choreography inspired by a sculpture called 'Wrestlers' by Henri Gaudier Brzeska.
A remix is available to download of Kate Whitley's 3 Violin and Piano Pieces by Mercury nominated Olugbenga Adelekan here. This remix is in conjunction with our R:STRNG app for KS3 and KS4 students. To find out more about this app and our other education projects visit our education page.
‘Unpretentious, appealingly vigorous and visceral music’ The Guardian ★★★★★
‘Capricious yet cogent, Whitley’s music has admirably user-friendly surfaces that conceal hidden intensities. We will hear much more of her’ The Times
‘NMC’s invaluable Debut Discs series provides a snapshot of a fresh and individual creative voice’ BBC Music Magazine
'Rousing and robust music ... a great introduction to Kate's music' BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'Make no mistake, Kate Whitley is a composer to watch.' Gramophone
With special thanks to Borletti-Buitoni Trust, RVW Trust and Christoph Trestler for their support of this recording.
Thank you to the Trusts, Foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:
I am I say was recorded on 20 June 2016 at St Thomas the Apostle College, London. Viola Concerto was recorded on 26 September 2016 at All Saints, East Finchley, London. 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano, 5 Piano Pieces and Duo for Violin and Viola were recorded on 19-20 April 2016 at All Saints, Tooting, London.
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Producer & Engineer
DAVID LEFEBER Mastering