Meet Anna Lapwood—Brilliant Organist and TikTok Sensation!

March 15, 2024
Anna Lapwood poses against a gray background

Organist, conductor, and broadcaster Anna Lapwood has thrilled TikTok audiences with her midnight rehearsals, but you don’t have to stay up that late to enjoy her Northrop concert. Check out these featured facts surrounding the Anna Lapwood, Organ Recital on Apr 2, offered in-person and via livestream—also on-demand (to watch at midnight, if you prefer!) through Apr 7.

Top photo by Charlotte Ellis.



From Outer Space to Inner Workings

Showcasing a wide array of styles allows Lapwood to demonstrate the full range of Northrop’s amazing Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. There will be some Bach and Debussy, but she will also perform music by Philip Glass (among the world’s foremost living composers), Florence Price (who brought the spirit and energy of jazz to the organ), and Kristina Arakelyan (a young Armenian composer with a gift for musical storytelling).For those who have wondered how a pipe organ actually works, in this video she takes you inside the St. John's Smith Square organ in London. Describing the amazing variety of sounds an organ can produce, Lapwood says, “It basically is just a big box of toys.”

Lapwood sits in front of organ keys and knobs.

Photo by Suzie Howell for The New York Times

TikTok Famous…Organist?

Anna Lapwood welcomes you to #OrganTok. Millions of users have watched her stream late night practice sessions on TikTok. One of her videos has been viewed 9.6 million times! It’s no wonder The New York Times has called Lapwood “the world’s most visible organist,” and TikTok named her one of its Breakthrough Artists of the Year for 2023. Her delightful social media presence is even more charming when she gives herself the giggles.

Hans Zimmer sits in an edit bay.

Hans Zimmer courtesy of BBC

Interstellar Has Been Stellar For The Organ

Lapwood may be an organ star, but she won’t take all the credit. “I think the Interstellar soundtrack has done more to popularize the organ than anything or anyone else! I’ve chosen four of my favorite cues from the film and put them together into a suite.” Indeed, Hans Zimmer’s grandiose score is beloved by many, regardless of whether they saw the film. Lapwood will perform movements from Interstellar as part of her Northrop recital.

Portrait of Lapwood standing in sun.

Photo by Richard Ansett BBC

Prestigious Skill

In Dec 2023, Lapwood was appointed MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to music. The MBE is one of the highest honors in the U.K., bestowed upon those whose work has made a significant contribution to the community. She could scarcely believe it herself, “It’s just completely mad…” she told the BBC. “When the letter arrived, I think I sort of screamed and ran around in circles a little bit.” In Mar 2024, she was named among ‘Best Classical’ nominees in The Global Award, and received the RPS Gamechanger Award.

Lapwood conducts at Pembroke College.

Photo by Nick Rutter

Proud to “Play Like a Girl”

Lapwood was the first woman organ scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, in its 560-year history, is now an associate artist at Royal Albert Hall in London, and is also director music at Cambridge University's Pembroke College. When she was in college, an instructor encouraged her to “play more like a man” to win a competition. The experience encouraged her to create the “tongue-in-cheek hashtag” #playlikeagirl, and commit fully to advocating for gender equality for women in professional music. As Director of College music, she established a girls choir at Pembroke