Anna Lapwood is an organist, conductor, and broadcaster, and holds the position of Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
While studying at Oxford University, Anna was the first female in Magdalen College’s 560-year history to be awarded the Organ Scholarship. Now performing multiple recitals each season, Anna released her debut solo album in September 2021 on Signum Records. The album, “Images”, features her transcription of Britten’s ‘Four Sea Interludes’ from “Peter Grimes”.
Performances have taken her across Europe on recital tours and in 2019 Anna opened the BAFTA TV awards on the organ of the Royal Festival Hall. Recent concerts include an organ recital from St David’s Hall, Cardiff (broadcast on BBC Radio 3); a live audio stream from Leeds Town Hall and a webcast performance of Poulenc’s ‘Organ Concerto’ with the London Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Chloé van Soeterstède from St. John’s, Smith Square (London). In September 2021 she made her BBC Proms debut at as soloist in Saint-Saëns ‘Organ Symphony’ with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, repeating the Saint-Saëns later that month with conductor Kazuki Yamada and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Anna made her TV presenting debut in 2020/21 hosting coverage of BBC Young Musician, followed by presenting a televised Prom in September 2021. As a radio broadcaster she is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and until July 2020 she hosted a live, weekly classical music show on Radio Cambridgeshire. She has also been featured on Classic FM and presented for Scala Radio.
Appointed Director of Music at Pembroke College at Cambridge University in 2016 aged just 21, Anna conducts the Chapel Choir and Girls’ Choir. Their debut recording – “All Things are Quite Silent” – was released in 2020 to widespread critical acclaim, praised for their clarity, blend and beauty of sound. Anna’s passion to support girls and women is evident in almost every aspect of her work, especially at Pembroke. In 2018 she established the Pembroke College Girls’ Choir for girls aged 11 to 18 to inspire them to explore the world of choral music. They appeared as guest artists on “To Shiver the Sky” by American composer, Christopher Tin, for Decca US, recording at Abbey Road Studios. Anna also runs the Cambridge Organ Experience for Girls and was appointed a Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College in January 2020.
Increasingly in demand as a guest conductor, she has also directed the BBC Singers as part of the Proms Inspire programme and has led choral workshops around the world. A strong advocate for music education at home and abroad, she specialises in bringing music to children from impoverished backgrounds. As a Trustee of the Muze Trust, a charity committed to making music accessible to children and young adults in Zambia, Anna works in Zambia regularly and leads the Muze-Pembroke Music Exchange Programme. When the Covid-19 Pandemic put a stop to much of Anna’s work in this area overseas she focussed her efforts closer to home, founding and conducting the NHS Chorus-19, made up of over 1000 NHS staff from across the UK.
Having spent some years being encouraged to “play like a man” and with a dedication to her art and mission that belied her years, Anna is now humbled to find that she is an inspiration to many young women and proud that they have adopted her hashtag, #playlikeagirl.