The Bach Choir Sir David Willcocks Carol Competition

Community Engagement - The Bach Choir Sir David Willcocks Carol Competition

The Bach Choir Sir David Willcocks Carol Competition

Winners for the 2021 competition have been announced. Congratulations to Fernando Taberner and Thomas Neal in the 19 and over category and to Christopher Churcher in the 18 and under category.  Read the full details of their new carols to be premiered by the Choir on 20th December here.

Supporting composers of all ages to continue our carolling tradition

Singing together has a unique power to inspire and connect people, making us healthier and happier.  This is never truer than at Christmas, when children and adults of all ages join together at school, at their local pub or in a concert hall, to sing their favourite Christmas carols.  

A strong tradition; carols past, present and future

As well as performing in several carol concerts, The Bach Choir also supports the composition of a new carol each year – with The Bach Choir Sir David Willcocks Carol Competition. Open to amateur composers of all ages (with two categories for under & over 18s) the competition was launched in 2017 to encourage composers and add new original carols to this important genre.  

Each year the winning entries are premiered by the choir at its annual Carols at Cadogan concert in London.  Sir David Willcocks was musical director of The Bach Choir for 38 years and a prolific arranger and composer of carols for choirs.  The choir’s current musical director David Hill and President John Rutter have both continued that tradition, which is why carols are so close to our heart. 

Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter and David Hill


This years’ competition

Composers of any age were invited to submit an original carol for adult SATB choir with or without organ or piano accompaniment.  It will be performed by The Bach Choir at their carol concert at London’s Cadogan Hall on Monday 20 December 2021.

The competition was judged by David Hill, John Rutter and Jonathan Willcocks in two categories:

  • Composers aged 18 and under
  • Composers aged 19 and over

The winners were announced on Friday 19 November 2021. The winner in each category will receive a small cash prize kindly donated by the David Willcocks Music Trust – and up to three complimentary tickets to the Cadogan Hall concert to hear their carol performed live.

The full terms and conditions of entry are listed below.


Celebrating past winners

Here are some of the winners of the carol competition to date. It’s been wonderful to watch these composers as they have grown their own musical careers and we’re proud to be part of their journeys. 


2018: Ruth Sellar, a First Class Honours graduate from Kings College London with ‘The Snow Lies Thick’.












2019: Aaron King, music graduate and former Oxford University Music Society Composition Competition winner, with ‘A Spotless Rose’. Aaron has gone on to compose music for short films and his works have been performed across the UK.








Come and hear this year’s winning carol live

Join The Bach Choir and special guests London City Brass at Cadogan Hall on Monday 20 December.  Click here for more information and to book: Carols at Cadogan.


Ready to enter?  Deadline Friday 15 October 2021.

Please read the full conditions of entry:

  1. Composers may use their own or others’ words, but precise details of the source of the text must be provided. Text must be out of copyright. 
  2. Carols submitted should have not received a public performance, and the music must be original (ie not an arrangement of existing music). 
  3. The Bach Choir shall have all rights in connection with the first public performance of the prize-winning carol(s), but thereafter the composer shall have all rights in respect of the carol. 
  4. The Bach Choir shall have all rights in connection with the first recording of the prize-winning carol(s), but thereafter the composer shall have all rights in respect of the carol. The exclusivity of this period shall be one year. 
  5. Entries will be judged by David Hill, John Rutter, Jonathan Willcocks and such other person(s) as The Bach Choir may appoint. 
  6. The panel of judges reserves the right to divide the prize between two or more composers, or withhold the prize if there are no entries of sufficient merit to justify an award being made. The decision of the panel of judges shall be final and binding. Prize winners will be notified by email to the address supplied with their entry. 
  7. Entries should be sent either by email (preferred) to carolcompetition@thebachchoir.org.uk, or by post to: David Willcocks Carol Competition, The Bach Choir, PO Box 61756, London,SW1H 0UZ. The Bach Choir accepts no liability for any late, lost or misdirected entries.
  8. Each entry should be accompanied by a covering letter/email, which includes the title of the work, composer’s name, date of birth (if 18 or under) and contact details, which should include an email address. The name of the composer must not appear on the music.
  9. In the case of posted entries, competitors who would like their scores returned should enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.
  10. If the concert on Monday 20 December 2021 has to be cancelled or postponed due to COVID or for any other reasons beyond the control of The Bach Choir, every effort will be made to perform the winning carol(s) at a future Christmas performance, but this cannot be guaranteed.
  11. The Bach Choir regrets that it cannot pay winners’ travel/accommodation expenses incurred in attending the concert on Monday 20 December 2021.
  12. Personal information supplied to The Bach Choir by entrants will be used by us in accordance with our privacy policy which can be found at https://www.thebachchoir.org.uk/privacy-policy/.
  13. By entering the Competition, entrants undertake that their entry is not in breach of any third party’s rights and that they will indemnify us for any loss, damage or other liability we incur if this turns out not to be the case.
  14. Entries from anyone aged under 18 must include written confirmation (which may be by email) from the entrant’s parent or guardian that they agree to be bound by the Competition’s conditions of entry.
  15. We may require any prize winner to participate in promotional or publicity material and we will have the right to use any such material in any medium and in any manner we see fit.