The King’s Singers are thrilled to announce the winners of A Carol for Christmas composition competition 2015.

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 using the text Christmas Bells. 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.”

Videntes Stellam by Toby Hession, a Clare College music student originally from Peterborough, wins category 2. 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 residing in Pontypridd, won in category 3 with I Saw Three Ships. While Ben has written several works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voice and choir, he has also been involved in music for film and TV. 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, also using the text I Saw Three Ships. 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 ‘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.”

Chair of the judging panel 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.”

On 4th December, youth choirs from across Great Britain – King’s Junior Voices, Inner Voices and Quay Voices – will perform the winning entries, conducted by Stephen Cleobury, in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.  The KS will give a concert in King’s College Chapel on the evening of the same day followed by a charity fundraising dinner at King’s School to raise money for Future Talent, Concerts at King’s and The King’s Singers Foundation. For tickets please visit the Concerts at King’s website.