The winner of BBC Radio 3’s 2017 Breakfast Carol Competition has today been announced as Bernard Trafford from Oxford. His setting of Sir Christèmas was selected from a shortlist of six carols, written by composers from across the UK.

‘Bernard’s carol is a worthy winner of the competition’, remarks judge David Hill. ‘It’s catchy and well written with lots of energetic rhythm. He has caught the spirit of the text superbly.’

The winning carol was performed by the BBC Singers, directed by David Hill, on BBC Radio 3 Breakfast this morning, and will be also played throughout Christmas day on the station. You can listen to Bernard’s composition here, as well as those of the five other finalists.

Bernard retired this summer from his role as a headmaster at the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School, where he wrote and arranged music for the students, including play scores and two musicals. He wrote his first Christmas carol aged 16 and went on to read music at the University of Oxford.

The compositions were judged by a panel including David Hill (former chief conductor of the BBC Singers), Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music and associate composer with the BBC Singers), Jonathan Manners (BBC Singers producer), Margaret Cameron (alto with BBC Singers) and Griselda Sherlaw-Johnson (choral promotion manager with Oxford University Press).


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.