David Burchell (pictured at the Dunedin Town Hall organ
console) has been dismissed as director of music at St
Paul's Cathedral. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The director of music at St Paul's Cathedral has been
dismissed by the Bishop of Dunedin after an "ongoing
disagreement" and allegations of "bullying".
David Burchell, who was appointed in 1999 after the dismissal
of the previous director, confirmed he was dismissed from the
position on Friday.
Yesterday he declined to comment on the reason for his
dismissal or whether he was considering legal action.
However, he confirmed the dismissal would not affect his role
as musical director of the City of Dunedin Choir, and he
would remain in Dunedin for the "foreseeable future".
"I am not prepared to comment further," he said.
The Dean of Dunedin, the Very Rev Dr Trevor James, said the
incident was not comparable to the "Raymond White affair",
referring to the former musical director who was dismissed in
Dr James declined to comment further about the Burchell
dismissal, but released a prepared statement from the Bishop
of Dunedin, the Right Rev Dr Kelvin Wright, who is in Canada.
The statement confirms the departure of Mr Burchell,
following an "ongoing disagreement involving the director of
music which the chapter, the dean and myself have tried, with
the utmost care and patience, to resolve".
"After the expenditure of considerable time, energy and money
it appeared, at the end of 2010, that a satisfactory outcome
had been reached," Dr Wright said.
"Disappointingly, this has not proven practicable, and it is
the considered and prayerful opinion of the dean and myself
that in the best interests of the future development of the
Cathedral, Mr Burchell's enormous musical skills would be
most usefully applied elsewhere."
The Otago Daily Times understands a failed attempt late last
year by senior church officials for Mr Burchell to resolve
his differences with former choir members played a role in
his termination last week.
Those differences are believed to centre on the "bullying" of
members - which, following the expulsion of a family two
years ago, has led to choir numbers halving, one former choir
Mr Burchell, a graduate of Oxford University, was appointed
Dunedin City Council organist in May last year.