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A Carol for Christmas 2015

A Carol for Christmas give composers across the nation a chance to have their carol performed in the stunning setting of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge this December, conducted by Stephen Cleobury, broadcast on Classic FM and published by Edition Peters. Composers of all ages are invited to submit their carol in one of four categories, one of which gives the opportunity to write for the internationally acclaimed GRAMMY® award winning a cappella ensemble, The King’s Singers.

The competition was judged by Stephen Cleobury CBE (Director of Music, King’s College, Cambridge), John Rutter CBE (composer, conductor and record producer), Christopher Gabbitas (The King’s Singers) and Richard Causton (composer).

On the afternoon of 4th December in King's College Chapel, Stephen Cleobury, John Rutter, Richard Causton and The King's Singers will work with the winning composers of the Community Choir and SATB Choir composition categories in a workshop environment with choirs from across the UK.

Winners of ‘A Carol for Christmas’ announced

Winners of ‘A Carol for Christmas’ announced

Congratulations to the winners of ‘A Carol for Christmas’ Composition Competition 2015 – Jo Nicholls, Toby Hession, Benedict Heneghan and Clive Smith.

The competition entries were divided into four categories:

  • Category 1 for a community choir (open to composers of all ages)
  • Category 2 for a full choir (composers aged 18 or under)
  • Category 3 for a full choir (composers aged 19 or over)
  • Category 4 for The King's Singers (open to composers of all ages).

The category 1 winner is Jo Nicholls, a Bristol University music graduate, composer and music teacher. Having previously won awards for her compositions, most notably an award for an arrangement at the Voice Festival UK, Jo won this category with a piece for Community Choir. She said: “I am very excited about winning the community choir category. My carol was written to be easily accessible to local choirs so that everyone can participate in the joy of music.”

The winner for Category 2 is Toby Hession, a Clare College music student originally from Peterborough. Toby has had works performed at venues including Peterborough Cathedral and the Royal Northern College of Music; in 2013, he was commissioned to compose a piece for the Commonwealth Observance Day in Westminster Abbey, which he conducted in front of an assembly of world leaders. He said: “To be able to say that my voice was heard among so many entries in a competition that is so hugely diverse is both completely amazing and humbling.”

Benedict Heneghan, an Aberystwyth graduate and long-standing television and film composer, won in category 3. While Ben has written several works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voice and choir – he has also been involved in high-profile TV projects. Alongside fellow composer Ian Lawson, Ben was responsible for the signature tune and incidental music to the children’s animation series ‘Fireman Sam’. He said: “To be a winner in a competition of this calibre, judged by these people, and with the prospect of having your music performed in this place is not something I’ll forget in a hurry.”

The winner of the category 4, for The King’s Singers, is Clive Smith from Essex. Through his inclusive approach he promotes music for all, directing music festivals and composing and arranging works for choirs, orchestras and instrumental groups. At present he is the Musical Director of ‘The Swift Singers’, and the Chelmsford choir, ‘Grammaticus’. His interest in the cello has also led to twice yearly workshops for over 60 young students and professional cellists performing as WHATALOTOFCELLOS. He said: “To hear my work performed by the King’s Singers at King’s is the best Christmas present I could possibly hope for.”

Stephen Cleobury commended everyone who took part in the competition: “For our second competition here at King’s we found no diminution in the quality or quantity of entries submitted, and there were a number of excellent compositions. We can confidently look forward to enjoying the works of the winners.”

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