BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition Opens to All Musical Styles

BBC Radio 3

Marking the start of the musical count-down to the festive season, BBC Radio 3 has launched a re-vamped Breakfast Carol Competition 2020.

Taking this much-loved annual fixture of the Radio 3 Christmas schedule to a wider audience, the competition will welcome entries in all musical styles – from classical to jazz, gospel, and more.

Encouraging music creation as a way to support listeners’ wellbeing in these unsure times, this year’s Breakfast Carol Competition is open to any amateur music lover who wishes to share their compositional ideas via notated scores or mobile phone-generated voice recording. The only requirement is to submit a tune that sets verses from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s hope-filled seasonal poem Christmas Carol.

In charge of shortlisting the initial entries is a star-studded judging panel chaired by choral composer Bob Chilcott, and including figures from diverse musical backgrounds: The Kingdom Choir founder, conductor and workshop leader Karen Gibson; composer and choral director Ken Burton; opera icon bass-baritone Bryn Terfel; Pembroke College Cambridge Director of Music organist Anna Lapwood; jazz singer and broadcaster Clare Teal; and St John’s College Cambridge Director of Music conductor Andrew Nethsingha.

Also on the judging panel is singer, composer and arranger Clare Wheeler – a former member of vocal group The Swingles – who will mentor the six shortlisted entrants through the second phase of the competition, guiding them on the journey from an initial score or voice recording to a fully-arranged piece.

The competing pieces, in their final form, will be presented across BBC Radio 3 programmes from 10 December, with public voting closing on 17 December and the winner revealed on 18 December.

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music, says: “As we enter further months of uncertainty, we are glad we can keep providing solace and support to our audiences through music – and what is more effective than engagement in music to prepare ourselves for seasonal celebrations – whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in? This year’s Carol Competition is open to any budding composer who wishes to take on the challenge – and we are looking forward to enjoying all of our listeners’ musical ideas.”

Ken Burton says: “All we want for Christmas is your new carol! Get writing, get involved in this exciting new opportunity to be the one whose carol is sung in future centuries.”

To take part in the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition 2020, click here.