Patrons, President & Ambassadors

Meet our patrons, president and ambassadors

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester

Royal Patron

The Duchess of Gloucester is a keen supporter of music and its benefits, and is patron of a range of organisations and charities with a focus on the positive impact of a musical education.

The Duchess became Royal Patron of the Cathedral Music Trust in January 2022, following a long-standing association with the charity as Patron of its Diamond Fund for Choristers in 2016, which raised funds to ensure that the unique heritage of the UK’s cathedral choirs is accessible to young people from all backgrounds.

The announcement of Her Royal Highness as Patron was made at a special celebratory service of Choral Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the conclusion of the Trust’s Diamond Fund for Choristers campaign.

Honorary Patrons

The Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Revd Justin Welby was ordained in 1992 after an 11-year career in the oil industry. He spent his first 15 years serving in Coventry diocese, often in places of significant deprivation. In 2002 he was made a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, where he jointly led its international reconciliation work. During this time he worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East. Archbishop Justin has had a passion for reconciliation and peace-making ever since. He was Dean of Liverpool from 2007 to 2011 and Bishop of Durham from 2011 to 2012, before being announced as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in late 2012.

Archbishop of Westminster

His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols previously served as Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham from 2000 to 2009. On 22 February 2014, Pope Francis admitted Archbishop Nichols to the Sacred College of Cardinals at a general consistory. Born in Crosby, Liverpool, on 8 November 1945, Vincent Nichols studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970, gaining licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University. He was ordained priest in Rome on 21 December 1969 for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

Harry Christophers CBE

Our President

Founder and conductor of the world-renowned choir The Sixteen, Harry was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and an academical clerk at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was later a lay vicar at Westminster Abbey, and sang with the Clerkes of Oxenford and the BBC Singers.

As well as being a regular guest conductor for symphony orchestras and opera companies worldwide, Harry Christophers is Artistic Director of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously active performing arts organisation in the US, and is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. He has directed The Sixteen and its orchestra worldwide – gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and twentieth-century music – and has made a significant contribution to the recording catalogue, forming the record label CORO in 2001. The catalogue has grown to include over 170 titles.

Harry has overseen a transformation in The Sixteen’s work since the launch of their annual Choral Pilgrimage in 2000. Choral Pilgrimage programmes have introduced many newcomers to unfamiliar sacred compositions and composers, drawing capacity audiences to the cathedrals, churches and other venues within The Sixteen’s national touring circuit. Christophers and The Sixteen have also connected with large audiences through their BBC television series, Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale (also a former chorister). Most recently, the pair presented the hour-long programme, Monteverdi in Mantua.

Harry was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours for his services to music. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has honorary doctorates in Music from the Universities of Leicester, Northumbria, Canterbury Christ Church and Kent. Harry’s numerous awards include a Gramophone Award for Early Music and the Classical Brit Award, and the CD IKON was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Alexander Armstrong

Ambassador

Actor, Presenter & Comedian

Alexander Armstrong is an English comedian, actor, television presenter and bass baritone. He is best-known as one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller who starred in four series of Armstrong and Miller and The Armstrong and Miller Show.  He regularly hosts the BBC series Have I Got News For You, and has co-presented the hugely popular TV quiz show Pointless since 2009.

Since September 2014, Alexander has presented the Saturday afternoon programme on the classical radio station Classic FM, and in 2020 he took over from John Suchet to host Classic FM’s flagship weekday mid-morning programme.

Alexander has a strong background in cathedral music. He counts his time as a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh as one of the most important and formative experiences of his life and went on to sing as a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. After over a decade in television and comedy, Alexander returned to his musical roots releasing his debut solo vocal album, A Year of Songs, in November 2015. It reached number 6 on the UK Albums Chart and topped the UK Classical Charts. He has since released two more albums.

I owe my entire career to my experience as a chorister. It was where I learnt to perform, where I learnt to use the full range of my voice; where I learnt to listen, where I learnt to write comedy – but most importantly it was where I learnt the wonderful truth that something exceptional, something as beautiful as anything anywhere, can be created just by you and your friends.

Alexander Armstrong

Anna Lapwood

Ambassador

Organist

Anna Lapwood MBE is an associate artist of the Royal Albert Hall and holds the position of Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She was awarded an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music and the prestigious Gamechanger Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2023. Anna regularly performs concertos with leading symphony orchestras and is heard playing recitals in concert halls and churches across Europe and the United States; she made her debut appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2024. Anna has also performed with Alison Balsom, Bonobo and Benedict Cumberbatch. As a broadcaster, she made her TV presenting debut on BBC Young Musician, has hosted a televised BBC Prom, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and 4. Anna also reaches a large online audience with over 1 million social media followers.

She was the first female in Magdalen College Oxford’s 560-year history to be awarded the Organ Scholarship and became an Ambassador of Cathedral Music Trust in 2022. Anna runs the annual Cambridge Organ Experience for Girls and in 2022 she curated and edited ‘Gregoriana’ for Stainer & Bell, an anthology of 12 new organ pieces by female composers which was awarded Presto Music’s Publication of the Year. Following four successful albums on Signum Classics, Anna signed exclusively to SONY in 2023 and the relationship launched with an EP – ‘Midnight Sessions at the Royal Albert Hall’. Her first album on SONY Classical, LUNA, was released on 29 September 2023.

How to support us

Our work is only made possible through the generosity of our supporters and volunteers.  Each year we help tens of thousands of people to discover the joy of choral music in cathedrals, churches and local communities. Get involved and make a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of individuals involved in the UK’s vibrant choral music tradition.