Lee Westwood is both a composer and a guitarist. His highly versatile musical language possesses an intimately personal character, developed over years of involvement in a wide field of cultures and traditions including Modern Jazz, Folk from across Europe and the Americas, and a broad spectrum of Classical Music, old and new.
Although largely self-taught, Lee is currently studying with Martin Butler towards his Doctorate at the University Of Sussex. He has also studied privately with composers Martin Suckling and Alison Kay, and has received composition mentoring from Michael Wolters, Peter Wiegold and Howard Skempton. In addition, Lee has studied Jazz harmony and improvisation with a number of private tutors, including George Moore, Jason Henson and Ian Price.
Sound And Music have made Lee one of their ‘New Voices’ featured composers for two years running (2014-16) and over this period he has been a part of two consecutive ‘Portfolio’ commissioning schemes. Lee is also currently part of the LSO Soundhub scheme, and Making Music’s Adopt A Composer Scheme (working with East London Community Band).
Alongside many years of touring his own solo guitar works, Lee’s music has also been performed by the New Music Players, Workers Union Ensemble, MusArc, The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge, Riot Ensemble, members of Notes Inégales, Adam Swayne, University Of Sussex Symphony Orchestra, Hidden Order Ensemble, Lee Westwood Ensemble, Southern Winds Ensemble and Gerard Mapstone.
Lee received Arts Council support for his recent exhibition ‘A Hidden Order’, a collaboration with geometer Sama Mara exploring the relationship between music and geometry, culminating in the multimedia performance of a new suite of chamber works, whereby geometric artwork responds in realtime to live music. Still in its first year, ‘A Hidden Order’ has already toured some of the leading international spotlights for contemporary art, including the Prince’s School Of Traditional Arts (London), Saatchi Gallery (London), Athr Gallery (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), Kashya Hildebrand Gallery (London), KIAF (Korea), Synergos Symposium (Toronto, Canada), Abu Dhabi Art (Abu Dhabi), Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair (Turkey), SCOPE Miami (USA), Seyhoun Gallery (LA, USA), CB1 Gallery (LA, USA) and Art Basel (Hong Kong).
In addition to his own compositions, Lee also writes music for film, documentary and installation with long-term collaborator Jules Arthur (founding member of the Beatabet Collective), including music for clients such as Eat Happy/Tesco, Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur (‘Stranger’), and the BBC’s recent primetime documentary ‘Joan Of Arc’.
As a guitarist, Lee has shared the stage with many guitar and folk legends incuding Waterson-Carthy, Chris Wood, Martin Simpson, Tim Van Eyken, Lau, John Renbourn, Robin Williamson, Pierre Bensusan, Clive Carroll, Nick Harper, Richard Smith, Benji Kirkpatrick and Yasmin Levi, and has toured his music extensively throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada. He has performed live on countless radio shows throughout England, Cyprus and Spain, and has appeared on Spanish national television (Cuatrosfera). Lee has played guitar for a number of other artists, including British folk legend Chris Wood (XOYO, London), film composer Damien Coldwell (Barbican Cinema, London; Phoenix, Leicester), Altus flautist Philippe Barnes (Barbican, London) and folk singer Carrie Tree. He played for 5 years with Songlines Award nominees Dizraeli & The Small Gods (ECC Records; West Holts Stage, Glastonbury; Big Red Tent, WOMAD; QEH, Southbank Centre; Barbican Foyer; O2 Academies across the UK), and currently tours and records with experimental trio Le Juki (Beatabet Records; One Taste; Tom Robinson; O2 Academies across the UK).
Vignettes (to be released 2016) – flute & oboe/cor anglais
The Visitor (to be released 2016) – cello & piano
Miniatures (to be released 2016) – piano solo
A Hidden Order (2014) – mixed ensemble (flute, cor anglais, marimba/percussion, cello)
Selected Works For Solo Guitar (2010) – book
Dragon (2009) – solo guitar
Nymph Suite & Other Stories (2008) – mixed ensemble (guitar, flute, violin, cello, double bass)
To Sleep (2006) – solo guitar
Le Juki – Capillaries (2013) – Experimental/Prog Folk
Dizraeli & The Small Gods – Moving In The Dark (2013) – Folk/Hip Hop
Dizraeli – Engurland (City Shanties) (2009) – Folk/Hip Hop
“…one of the UK’s most exciting and versatile musicians.”
– Keith Ames, Musician’s Union
“Westwood is prodigiously talented and able to create musical landscapes that are abstract, yet always energetic.”
Patrick Regains, Minor 7th
“…an emerging acoustic instrumentalist with blazing technique, ensuring the fingerpicking tradition remains in safe hands.”
– Owen Bailey, Guitarist Magazine
“…a brilliantly talented young artist, with a broad palette of styles mixed seamlessly together on this album… anyone with an appreciation for the fusion of ideas should love ‘To Sleep’.”
– Sam Wise, Acoustic Magazine
“…the common thread running throughout this work may very well just be beauty… This artist has already accomplished much and is apparently still growing exponentially.”
– Fred Kraus, Minor 7th
“Nymph Suite is a collection of songs of rare discernment, completely immersed in an evolved sense of art that I wouldn’t be surprise to find debuting at Royce Hall… In short, a masterpiece”
– David N Pyles, FAME
” A breath of fresh air, indispensable…”
– J.V., Guitarra Total
“A prodigious talent indeed.”
– Live review, Crackerjack
“…he’ll be a name to know in the future if he keeps this up: remember you heard it here first!”
– Guitar & Bass
“…the listener is guided through an artistic journey like none other.”
– Timothy Smith, Minor 7th
“Thank goodness for Lee Westwood, whose ‘To Sleep (Farewell Songs)’ will have guitar players giving up in despair and the rest of us delighted. Very rarely is technical wizardry on an instrument used to say something that otherwise could not be said. Lee manages that and it’s a pleasure to hear. One man, an acoustic and (apparently) four hundred thousand fingers.”
– Giles Duffy, Rocks Magazine
“…an astonishing acoustic guitar talent, Lee Westwood presents his very own approach to music. Lee surely impresses as a guitar player and composer, as well as with his new album ‘To Sleep’. Check him out!”
– Henk de Veldhuis, Bridge Guitar Reviews