A Horsham composer who had national success on BBC Radio 3 last month has urged other aspiring musicians to ‘keep faith’ in their dreams.
Kerensa Briggs, 23, was ‘shocked and overjoyed’ to be selected from 78 applicants as joint winner of the NCEM Young Composer’s Award with Hugo Bell, 22, in May.
The Tallis Scholars performed Kerensa’s Song of Jeremiah in October, and the recording was broadcast on BBC R3 on November 2.
Kerensa said: “It’s quite nerve-racking because you’re putting your music in someone else’s hands.”
She added that she is a big fan of the vocal group’s work and was pleased with their performance.
Kerensa, whose father David Briggs is a renowned composer and organist, said: “I grew up surrounded by music.”
David currently lives in Canada, but flew home for Kerensa’s special weekend.
He joined Kerensa’s mother Elisabeth and sister Miriam, who is a Christ’s Hospital pupil, to listen to the broadcast at their Horsham home.
Kerensa was thrilled to hear her song on the radio.
She said: “It is an amazing feeling, I cannot really describe it.”
Later the same day, a Choral Evensong repeat programme featured more of Kerensa’s music, including her piece Preces and Responses.
Kerensa said Preces and Responses was particularly special because it was recorded at Gloucester Cathedral, where she used to perform in the youth choir.
Kerensa aspires to becoming a film composer, but is currently committed to her day job at Horsham-based housing association Saxon Weald.
Kerensa said: “It is quite a difficult career path.”
But after her recent success she encouraged others to keep faith in their ambitions.
“Just believe in yourself,” Kerensa said.
“I was quite lucky.”
The talented musician plays the harp and piano, but concentrates on composing and singing.
She joked: “I was always better at composing than playing.”
Kerensa started writing her own music at the age of seven, which she described as childhood messing about.
She continued composing at a more advanced level and studied Music at University of Bristol. She is inspired by the choral tradition, early music and jazz.
For information on her upcoming performances, visit www.kerensabriggs.co.uk