Shaldon Festival Inaugural Concert
Type: Concert
Date: Saturday 21 July 1990

Royal College of Music Chamber Choir

The inaugural concert of the Shaldon Festival dedicated to the memory of international pianist, David Parkhouse

John Birch: Conductor

Rossini: Petit Messe Solennelle


The Chamber Choir of the Royal College of Music is a handpicked choir consisting of Post Graduate singers who have already distinguished themselves in their chosen career.

The choir has twice sung recently before HM the Queen Mother and will soon be heard on Radio 3, for which, they have recorded Stravinsky's King of the Stars.

They have performed the Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle in the Britten Theatre of the RCM and at this year's Chichester Festival in the ballroom of Goodwood House.

John Birch is organist of the Temple Church London and the Royal Albert Hall. He is Professor of organ at the Royal College of Music and currently director of its Chamber Choir.


The Parkhouse family were very well known in South Devon having played a major role in the introduction of civil aviation starting with Haldon Moor and progressing to what is nowadays the fastest growing airport in the UK at Exeter.

David was born in Teignmouth and went on to be educated at Blundells School. From there he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and thus, at the age of 15, became the youngest student ever to do so.

He studied with Herbert Fryer and Lance Dossor and, when he was 17, won the RCM’s highest award for piano playing, the Chappell Gold Medal. On completion of two years National Service in the RAF more prizes followed with the Boise Foundation Award and the Queen’s Prize, when he was chosen to play before Her Majesty the Queen as soloist in Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations. At the age of 25, he was appointed professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music, where he was later awarded a Fellowship

His concert career was consolidated by the formation of the Music Group of London, with his wife Eileen Croxford (our Festival President), and Hugh Bean. Reputedly one of the finest chamber music ensembles of its time, The Music Group of London played extensively at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John’s Smith Square. They made many important recordings for BBC Radio 3, including all the chamber music of Brahms, Dvorák and Mozart. Their commercial recordings include the Saga, Enigma and EMI labels. They travelled worldwide with extensive itineraries often planned by David Parkhouse himself. In 1981 at the invitation of the British Council, they became the first chamber group to visit China where they performed and gave master classes in Shanghai and Beijing. They were invited to return for three more visits.

David was an ambassador with the common and caring touch. His obituary in the daily Telegraph of April 1989 recounts how, on discovering 17 years ago that meals on wheels did not operate on Christmas Day, he created an organisation which now provides 700 meals for the needy each Christmas Day.

We invite you to join with us in this village of Shaldon where David spent the final years of his life in a feast of music which we proudly dedicate to this memory.

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.