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Anna Lapwood: From TikTok to the Royal Albert Hall, An Organist Making a Resounding Impact

 


Anna Lapwood, often dubbed the "Taylor Swift of classical music," has risen to fame as one of the world's most renowned organists at the age of 28. She is currently performing at the Royal Albert Hall, where she praises the unique opportunity for late-night practice without disturbing others. Lapwood is known for playing the Henry Willis organ, which has 9,999 pipes, stands 70 feet tall, and weighs around 150 tonnes, and she has gained a massive following on social media by sharing videos of her organ performances.

Lapwood's popularity skyrocketed during the lockdown when she began posting her performances online. These videos often garner millions of views. Her appeal extends beyond traditional performances; she also offers insights into how pipe organs work and creates unexpected mash-ups, like blending Bach with Faithless at the Ministry of Sound Classical.

Her unexpected encounters with celebrities, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, have further increased her visibility. Lapwood recognizes that some people have negative associations with the organ due to past experiences in church, but she aims to change that perception by staying true to herself and being open about her passion for the instrument.

According to the Sunday Times' Clemency Burton-Hill, Lapwood is more than just a talented organist and conductor; she's on a mission and experiencing a meteoric rise in her career. Lapwood's recent performance at the BBC Proms received high praise, and she's committed to making the world of organ music more inclusive, especially for female organists, who currently make up only around 8% of organ recital performers. Lapwood wants to create an environment where the next generation of female organists feels welcome.

She reflects on her own experience when an adjudicator told her to "play like a man" during a competition, encouraging a more authoritative style. Despite the immobility of pipe organs, Lapwood believes it's realistic to introduce more people to playing the instrument, especially since many churches have organs. She encourages anyone interested in playing to approach the director of music at their local church and give it a try, emphasizing the contagious and infectious appeal of the instrument.

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