b. Kate Barnard, Guildford, Surrey, England. Westbrook initially studied as a painter, exhibiting in the UK, Europe and the USA, before joining her future husband in the Mike Westbrook Brass Band (1974). Self-taught as a musician she sings and plays a variety of wind instruments, as well as composing and writing lyrics for many of Mike Westbrook’s groups. Independently, she was a guest soloist with the RAI Orchestra in Rome and the Zurich Radio Orchestra during the 70s, and in the 80s worked on projects with Lindsay Cooper. She sings in French, German, Greek and Italian and has performed from the works of poets and songwriters as diverse as D.H. Lawrence, William Blake, Cole Porter, Rossini and Lorca. In conjunction with Mike Westbrook, she organized many multi-media events involving music, performance and painting, which have been performed on television and the theatre. With such a wide variety of experience it is hardly surprising that she has complained: ‘I think we’ve got some way to go before there’s an understanding in the musical world of this thing greater than any category: music’.
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