Sophie Westbrooke


1.00pm Saturday, 4 June 2016


BBC Young Musician Finalist 2014


Programme to include Baroque and Renaissance music

with works by Handel, Cima, Ortiz and Matteis






David Gordon harpsichord




Sophie began playing the recorder with her mother when she was 5, as a way of learning to read music to aid her violin and piano studies. She moved to formal lessons a year later and passed her Grade 8 at the age of 9. Shortly after she started studying with Barbara Law at the Junior Royal Academy of Music and often plays alongside 2012 BBC Young Musician Finalist Charlotte Barbour-Condini. In 2013 Sophie passed her ABRSM Performance Diploma with Distinction and she has also gained distinction at Grade 8 on both piano and violin.


Sophie aims to expand awareness of her instrument through the performance of a wide repertoire of music from the medieval to the modern. She is experimental in interpretation, often using improvisation and different combinations of instruments to accompany her ever-growing collection of different instruments.


Sophie is a music scholar in year 11 at Sevenoaks School where she participates in many choirs, orchestras and chamber groups. Her quartet in which she plays violin were chamber champions in the Pro Corda National Chamber Music competition 2014. Sophie also plays violin with the Lydian Orchestra in West Kent, with whom she has also played the Sammartini Recorder Concerto and will go on tour to Germany and Belgium with the Gordon Jacob concerto in July.


Sophie enjoys composition, and in 2012 wrote a Christmas carol 'Music of Christmas Day' which won both the Junior Carol Competition at RAM and was the overall winner of the Sevenoaks School carol competition. In 2013 she was invited to compose a piano piece and perform at the Hastings International Composers' Festival alongside pieces by Nigel Hess, Stephen Warbeck and others. She is currently working on a set of pieces for recorder to premier in upcoming concerts. Sophie also enjoys studying conducting at school, where she is conducting an orchestra in concert in March and will take part in choral conducting on tour in Tuscany this summer.


Sophie is also involved in music production, and co-wrote, recorded and produced a pop album with her band, playing guitar and keyboards with a school friend on vocals and her brother on drums, raising over £800 for the charity HopeHIV. Having studied jazz piano at a young age she regularly accompanies bands and singers in local charity concerts and events.


When not at school or practising, Sophie likes running and cooking. Although Sophie enjoys her academic studies, she would love to become a professional musician or composer in the future. She is looking forward to performing at the Sevenoaks Festival and BBC YM Finalists Concert in Bristol this June.



David Gordon studied mathematics and logic before embarking on a career as jazz pianist, harpsichordist and composer.


As harpsichordist, he plays with many of the leading baroque orchestras, including appearances at the BBC Proms, the Musikverein in Vienna, and Carnegie Hall, New York.  He has also performed with violinists Andrew Manze and Nigel Kennedy, and leads the early music/jazz group Respectable Groove, whose most recent projects, their ground-breaking versions of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and of ‘Bach and the Organist’s Daughter’ have been critically acclaimed both in the jazz and early music press. His solo harpsichord recitals usually include a large element of improvisation, and he has twice appeared as guest artist and director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra at the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway.


As jazz pianist, he tours and records with his own international jazz trio, including festival appearances in the UK and Denmark, on BBC Radio 3 and a debut at London’s King’s Place in December 2011. In addition he regularly collaborates with violinist Christian Garrick and singer Jacqui Dankworth, and with spoken word in the jazz/poetry collective Riprap. He is also joint musical director of, and an explosive pianistic force in, the gypsy tango band Zum, which has toured Croatia, Finland, France, and the United States. In spring 2013, he premiered a specially-commissioned work at London’s Cadogan Hall he wrote for his trio and the London Chamber Orchestra.


As composer, his jazz style interweaves with his knowledge of the baroque and vast understanding of innumerable diverse musical influences, and his works appear on around 20 CDs, with regular commissions to write for various groups, the award-winning community opera Semmerwater, written and premiered in 2009, and winner of an AMI award, being the result of one of these.  A firm advocate of the power of improvisation, he believes that improvising – in groups or alone – allows us access to parts of the human spirit other forms of music-making cannot reach.





This concert is presented as part of the Steyning Festival and tickets are only available through the Festival website or in person at its Box Office at the Steyning Bookshop. The programme will be about an hour long with no interval.