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Meet the judges

The judges for our Carol Competition will be composers Janet Wheeler and Sarah Cattley

Janet Wheeler

Janet Wheeler is a versatile and award-winning British composer, writing primarily for choirs. She also works as a much-admired choral conductor, based in the Saffron Walden and Cambridge area.

A junior exhibitioner at the Guildhall School of Music from the age of 10, Janet went on to read music at Cambridge, where she studied composition with Robin Holloway and Hugh Wood. After running a secondary school music department, she became a music producer for BBC School Radio primary music for eight years before specialising entirely on her conducting and composing.

Janet’s music has been performed by choirs across the UK and further afield, including many cathedral and college choirs, I Fagiolini, the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus. She has written commissioned music for NYC Great Britain, ORA Chamber Choir, SONORO Chamber Choir, Ely Cathedral, Onyx Brass, Britten Sinfonia and many others. She conducts Granta Chorale, which often sings her music and that of other contemporary composers.

Some of Janet’s current composing projects include a commission for Voices of Hope and the What a Wonderful World Festival, the premiere of a commission for Cadenza Choir at the Edinburgh Fringe, and a setting of a cycle of poems by Kevin Crossley-Holland. 

Her music features on several discs including Somerville Choir's 2022 Christmas disc 'A Dawn of Grace'.

Find out more about Janet


Sarah Cattley

Sarah Cattley is an award-winning composer based near Cambridge, where she studied Music at Newnham College. Sarah was Caritas Chamber Choir’s Composer of the Year 2017–18, after winning their inaugural composition competition. During this time she wrote them four new works, and she is fortunate to have enjoyed a close relationship with the choir since then. Her music is available on their two CDs.

In 2019, the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music commissioned Sarah to write a set of Preces and Responses, which were premiered during the festival evensong and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, conducted by Christopher Batchelor. In the same year, she was joint winner of the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composer Award, with her piece Dream Fever for bass viol and electronics, which was recorded for Radio 3’s Early Music Show by Liam Byrne, and has since also been broadcast on Resonance FM.

The third volume of Multitude of Voyces’ anthologies of sacred music by women composers includes Sarah’s carol Ivy, Chief of Trees it is, and her Fitzwilliam Service is published by Selah Press in their Sarah MacDonald Choral Series. Sarah was delighted to be commissioned by Stainer and Bell to write a commemorative piece for the 2022 celebrations of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday. Her piece O Western Wind … An Anniversary sets a poem by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Find out more about Sarah

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Carol Competition

Granta Chorale run a carol composition competition for students in school years 7-13 with an initial submission date in early September. Spread the word now to help as many young composers benefit from this scheme as possible.

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