Shrewsbury composer wins choral composition competition

By Keri Trigg | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A pianist, organist, conductor and composer has won the New Music for St Paul's Choral Composition Competition.

Derry Bertenshaw

Derry Bertenshaw from Shrewsbury won the competition with a setting of his own Biblical paraphrase, 'The Wedding of Water and Wine'.

Contestants were challenged to write a work based on a text associated with either with the Baptism of Christ or the Wedding at Cana, scored for unaccompanied soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices.

At the final held at St Paul's, Derry's work was performed by the Consort of St Paul's Cathedral alongside three other finalists' compositions to be judged.

Derry’s prize is a première performance of his work, sung by the full Choir of St Paul's Cathedral at the Epiphanytide Carol Service on Sunday, January 12. He also receives £1,000. The competition is supported by the Boltini Trust.

Derry said he was "delighted" to have won.

"To hear my anthem Wedding of Water and Wine performed in the iconic setting of St Paul's Cathedral was an unforgettable experience," he said.


"Congratulations to St Paul's Cathedral Consort on their dynamic performance of my piece at the finals.


"I am excited at the prospect of hearing the first public performance by the full choir in January.

"I'm extremely grateful to the Boltini Trust for supporting this competition and giving opportunities such as this for aspiring composers like myself."

William Fox, Sub-Organist of St Paul's, who co-ordinated the competition, said: "Derry’s words are inventive and his setting of them uses the acoustic of St Paul’s to great effect, alternating stately acclamations with verve-filled sections.

"The bold harmonic language, effective use of texture, and sensitive writing for voices characterise this extrovert piece, celebrating Christ’s first miracle."

Since 2004 Derry has been organist and choirmaster of St Giles' Church in Shrewsbury.

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_LDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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