Anna is Birmingham Royal Ballet's Senior Manager – Trusts & Foundations and has been a vital part of our Development team for some years.
1) Twentysomething: Jamie Cullum
This song takes me straight back to my late teens/early 20s, when I was a bit of a Jamie Cullum superfan (as many of my colleagues know!). I've seen him live more times than I care to count and he is one of the best live performers I've ever seen - and a lovely guy too. Sadly neither of us are twentysomething any more but this is a great nostalgia kick.
2) Chariot - Gavin DeGraw
Gavin DeGraw is one of those musicians who's difficult to pigeonhole, partly because he's quite a musical chameleon. This is the song that made him famous (at least in the USA - he's not very well-known in the UK). He remains the only musician I've ever wanted to see live so much that I went to the gig on my own.
3) Give it Back - Polly Paulusma
I came across Polly Paulusma's music when she was supporting Jamie Cullum. She's a folk musician with a distinctive voice and a knack for writing happy music for surprisingly sad lyrics, although this is one of her chirpier songs. I'm very much one for living in the moment and getting as much as we can out of life, and I love the line 'This sweet life is only borrowed, got to give it back some day'.
4) Hamilton, 'You'll be Back' – Jonathan Groff
I'm a big musicals fan, having grown up on the likes of Phantom, Les Mis and Joseph. I haven't managed to see Hamilton live yet but took the opportunity to watch it when it was made available on TV during lockdown. Since then I haven't been able to get this song out of my head. Jonathan Groff does such a fantastic job of King George III, who sings this as the USA is preparing to fight for independence.
5) Cabaret - Liza Minnelli
Another song about making the most out of this life we've been given. This is my go-to karaoke song, including a memorable occasion when I gave an impromptu performance to a group of almost-strangers beside a bonfire in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest!
6) Come by Me - Harry Connick Jr
I love Harry Connick Jr's voice, but I love his piano playing even more. This song features one of my favourite musical moments, starting off as one thing and then, with the flick of a drumstick, becoming something else entirely.
7). Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - Morcheeba
As far as I'm concerned this song just IS summer. I listened to it non-stop as a teenager working at a summer camp in Germany and it was the first single I ever bought. It's quite a departure from Morcheeba's usual oeuvre, and Skye Edwards's voice goes from melted butter to Aretha-esque in the space of three minutes.
8). Piano Quintet in F minor, 3rd Movement – Brahms
I studied this piece as an A-level music student and I fell in love with it on first hearing. I'm not usually much of a chamber music person, having spent my entire life in orchestras or choirs, but there's something so intensely dramatic about this piece, and particularly this movement, that it really got under my skin.
9). A Child of our Time, 'Steal Away' - Tippett
A Child of Our Time was the first piece I ever performed with my choir, the CBSO Chorus, back in 2005. Tippett comes in and out of fashion as a composer but this piece, an oratorio reflecting on the nature of oppression and the horrors of World War II, is more relevant than ever. The work is punctuated by five spirituals, and this one is my favourite both to perform and to listen to.
10). O Magnum Mysterium – Lauridsen
Technically this is a Christmas piece, although you'd only know about it if you translated the Latin! Lauridsen is rather a one-hit wonder in the world of classical music, but this piece sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. It makes me a bit sad to be a mezzo-soprano as I'd love to be allowed to sing the soaring descant at the end.
11). Symphony no.2, Final Chorus - Mahler
Mahler does loud and bombastic very well, but this penultimate movement of the Second 'Resurrection' Symphony begins as quietly as it's possible to sing. As a singer it's a real challenge to sing almost inaudibly after having sat still and silent on stage for well over an hour, but it's absolutely worth it, especially at the very end of the symphony when the chorus (and orchestra) go full throttle. It makes me cry every time I sing it.
12). Rodeo, 'Hoe Down' – Copland
The music for the ballet Rodeo is just pure joy and I'm still holding out hope that Birmingham Royal Ballet will perform the ballet one day. Unison strings, loads of percussion, a stompy folksy rhythm - I've never been to the USA, but in my head it sounds like this.