Canon Professor Richard Burridge writes:
DAVID TRENDELL was an extraordinary musician, a talented
organist, and a director able to get the best out of young singers.
He was found dead of natural causes in bed at home, at the young
age of only 50, on Tuesday of last week, after failing, unusually,
to conduct choral evensong in the Chapel of King's College,
He was internationally respected as a scholar and performer of
Renaissance church music, while his commitment to excellence in
worship has left a legacy of choral scholars and lay clerks to many
churches and cathedrals, especially in London.
David Robin Charles Trendell was born in Tavistock on 17 August
1964, but was brought up in Norfolk, where his family still live.
He was a chorister, and later an alto choral scholar, at Norwich
Cathedral, before taking an organ scholarship at Exeter College,
Oxford, in preference to a choral scholarship at King's College,
Cambridge, as being more challenging.
After being Assistant Organist at Winchester College while doing
postgraduate research on Zemlinsky, he returned to Oxford in 1989
as Organist of the University Church. He succeeded Ernie Warrell as
College Organist and Lecturer in Music at King's in 1992.
David was responsible for all the music in the beautiful chapel
at the Strand, from playing at daily morning prayer, and directing
the choir at the weekly choral evensong and college eucharist, to
large annual events. His Advent carol services were so popular
that, despite repeating it three nights running, more than 1000
tickets immediately disappeared.
The termly choir concert was always a special event, and he led
regular choir tours to France and Italy, and longer trips further
afield, including American tours, and recent concerts in Hong
Over 22 years, David led the College Chapel Choir to
international recognition, reflected in a series of warmly reviewed
CDs celebrating music from the English and Spanish Renaissance,
which he particularly loved, as well as Allegri, Rogier, Rodion
Shchedrin, Richard Strauss, and most recently Desenclos and
David's performances were unique in their passionate response to
Renaissance polyphony, unbound from the pieties of the English
choral tradition and yet never less than perfectly shaped. He had a
particular gift for his own distinctively pure sound, which was
often noted in reviews. That he managing to get generations of
undergraduates to pass it on from year to year is a tribute to his
skill as a conductor and director.
David was fascinated by William Byrd, whose music for recusant
Catholics in Elizabethan England comprised his final concert,
accompanied by careful explanation drawing on his own research into
a difficult period for both Church and nation.
Beyond King's, David was also committed to the Church and the
wider world. He had been Director of Music at St Mary's, Bourne
Street, since 2008, and before that at the Priory Church of St
Bartholomew the Great, playing a central part in church music
across London, earning himself many friends and admirers. He had
also been Director of the Edington Festival. He lectured regularly
at the International William Byrd Festival in Portland, Oregon, led
choral workshops in Houston, and was highly respected as a record
David's deep faith and commitment to the Church of England was
one of the uncharacteristically quieter parts of his life.
Socially, he was renowned as a bon viveur and wonderful raconteur
of delicious stories, often over drinks with his students and
colleagues after a special service or concert. David was an
enthusiastic member of the Athenaeum, where he had dinner with
friends on Monday evening, only hours after conducting a rehearsal
of the chapel choir. It is typical that his last act should have
reflected his lifelong desire to pass on his musical ability to
Students, friends, and colleagues alike will remember him with
the greatest affection, saddened only that he has been taken from
us too early. His funeral will take place next week in the college
chapel, followed by a memorial service during 2015.
Canon Burridge is the Dean of King's College,