BBC Radio 3 has announced Jacqueline Burley as the winning composer of the Breakfast 2014 carol competition.


The contest, which began in September, challenged listeners across the UK to show off their composition skills and write a new Christmas carol using the words of Susan Hill’s specially-commissioned poem Can It Be True?

After hundreds of entries, a shortlist of six finalists and a public vote, the BBC Singers performed Burley's winning carol on Radio 3's Breakfast show live this morning.

Burley studied Music and Education at Bath College, and now lives in Derby with her husband and two children. She is a carer for her son, who suffers from several disabilities, including autism and epilepsy.

Her carol aims to create a magical atmosphere, following the journey towards, and discovery of, Jesus’s birth. Arranged for SATB choir and piano accompaniment, Burley originally intended it to be performed by children and adults together, reflecting the different levels on which the poem can be reacted to.

Judith Weir, Master of the Queens Music and BBC Singers associate composer, was on the panel for the competition, and says, ‘We were hoping that this competition would contribute new Christmas songs to the repertory and this is a lovely, clear setting that many choirs could enjoy having a go at.’

The six shortlisted composers were Jacqueline Burley, Mark Goggins, Ian Hope, Dan Miller, Ralph Warman and Andy Whitfield. You can hear each of their carols on the BBC Radio 3 website.

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Lucy Chaudhuri


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