Anna Lapwood is a trailblazing musician: a conductor, organist, and broadcaster, she is currently Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Anna made her TV presenting debut in 2020 hosting BBC Television’s coverage of BBC Young Musician. 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 BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. She has also been featured on Classic FM and presented for Scala Radio. A former harpist, Anna now focuses on the organ and gives a substantial number of organ recitals on some of the greatest instruments across Europe each season. This year she will release her first album as an organist, featuring her transcription of Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes”.
Appointed Director of Music at Pembroke College at Cambridge University in 2016 aged just 21, Anna conducts the Chapel Choir and Girls' Choir. Their first recording was released on Signum Records in 2020 to widespread critical acclaim, praised for their clarity (MusicWeb International), blend (Gramophone) and beauty of sound (Choir and Organ). Anna’s passion to support girls and women in music shines through 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 Church music, and she runs the annual Cambridge Organ Experience for Girls. Her non-stop Bach-a-thon performance of the complete works of J.S. Bach had an all-female team of organists in its second year and is now an annual fixture in the Pembroke calendar, priding itself on including a diverse array of organists spanning all ages and genders. In January 2020, Anna was appointed a Bye-Fellow at Pembroke College.
Beyond her work at Pembroke, Anna is increasingly in demand as a guest conductor. She directed the BBC Singers as part of the BBC Proms Inspire programme and has led choral workshops around the world with recent events in Thailand, Perth WA, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Lusaka. 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. Whilst the Covid-19 Pandemic put a stop to Anna's music work abroad, she has been focussing her efforts closer to home, founding & conducting the NHS Chorus-19, a virtual choir made up of over 1000 NHS staff from across the UK.
Anna is a highly distinguished concert organist. Awarded an Organ Scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford she was the first female in the College’s 560-year history to be given the Scholarship. Performances have taken her to the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall (London), St Thomas Church (New York), and across the UK and Europe on recital tours. In 2019, Anna opened the BAFTA TV awards on the organ of the Royal Festival Hall, and in 2020 she gave an organ recital from St David's Hall, Cardiff, broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Formerly Principal Harpist for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Junior Academy Symphony Orchestra, she also studied piano, violin, viola and composition at the Junior Royal Academy of Music. Anna has an extraordinary work ethic and passion for multiple genres of music. She has collaborated with Katy B at London Fashion Week and worked with Tom Chaplin as arranger and conductor for the choir on a recording project at Abbey Road Studios. As a singer, she was a member of Gareth Malone’s professional ensemble, Voices, with whom she has released two albums, performed at the Classical Brit Awards, Royal Variety Show, the National Eisteddfod of Wales and in multiple TV performances.
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 amused that they have adopted her hashtag, #playlikeagirl.