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London musician triumphs in choral composition competition

The organist of a London church, just a short distance from St Paul’s, has won the Cathedral’s composition competition.

John Eady, organist at St Magnus the Martyr, next to London Bridge, has triumphed in the New Music for St Paul’s competition with his anthem Veni Sancte Spiritus, written for the Feast of Pentecost.

The work, inspired by plainsong, impressed judges who found it beautifully crafted and full of imagination. Andrew Carwood, the Cathedral’s Director of Music said: "It is so good to discover a young composer who understands how voices work in the building and who has written a piece which is rewarding to sing, challenging to perform but so well constructed that it is a joy to rehearse.”

As a prize, John received £1,000 and heard his piece performed by the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral at the Pentecost Procession on Sunday 27 May.

This year the judging panel included one of Britain’s most famous composers, John Rutter, and three finalists had their works performed by the St Paul’s Cathedral Consort at a special recital performance, before the winner was chosen.

Supported by the Boltini Trust through the St Paul’s Cathedral Foundation, the biennial New Music for St Paul’s is open to composers under the age of 40. Entrants have to submit a setting based a feast in the Church’s calendar which is specified in advance. The next competition will be announced in the coming months.

The Christian Church is a significant patron of the arts and much new music is being commissioned regularly by cathedrals and parish churches around the country.

John Eady
John Eady was born in 1976 and received much of his early musical training at the Yehudi Menuhin School and as a music scholar at Charterhouse. After studying music at King's College London and the Royal Academy of Music he studied cello for three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Stefan Popov. In 2002 he started to learn the organ with Anne Marsden Thomas at the St Giles International Organ School and in 2006 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He is currently a freelance cellist and organist, manages his string quartet named Four Strings Attached and is also an instrumental teacher at Eastbourne College and Battle Abbey School. Since 2008 he has been organist at St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge.