Director of Music

The Director of Music post at St Mark's is job-shared by Philip Burnett and David Dewar.

South African by birth, Philip began organ lessons with Grant Brasler at St George’s Cathedral Cape Town. His undergraduate degree in Music came from Rhodes University where he was the Charles Bryars Organ Scholar. He was later acting Director of Music at Grahamstown Cathedral and taught music at Kingswood College, Grahamstown. He moved to Bristol for further research and study in 2010, and for five years sang in the choir of the famous Bristol church St Mary Redcliffe. He holds an MA from the University of Bristol and is currently studying towards a PhD in Musicology and History. He has worked as a locum organist in London and the South West, and divides his duties at St Mark’s with singing and playing at St Barnabas, Jericho in Oxford. He also works as a Library Assistant at University College Oxford and the Bodleian Music Faculty Library.


David Dewar is presently a postgraduate in Musicology at the University of Bristol, on an MPhil/PhD programme researching in 20th C British art music (focusing on the intersects between professional and amateur music-making in the interwar period).   He serves within the university as a member of Bristol Doctoral College’s committee for providing skills training for researchers in all faculties, and as a university research mentor for local sixth-formers undertaking the new Extended Project Qualification.    

He studied orchestral horn and 18th C hand-horn technique at Birmingham Conservatoire and with Anthony Halstead in London, organ with Anne Marsden Thomas and Gerdi Troskie, and conducting with George Hurst.  After freelance playing with various orchestras and ensembles in the Midlands and North he now specializes as a choral and orchestral conductor, with considerable experience conducting orchestras and choirs in the UK, and in mainland Europe.  He has studied with the Open University, has a qualification from the Royal College of Organists, and gained a First in music from Canterbury Christ Church University in 2014.  He was the reserve member of Bristol University’s team for the 2016/2017 University Challenge TV series, and participated with the ‘on-screen’ members in the BBC’s recording sessions in Manchester.

David has a private practice teaching organ, horn, conducting, singing, and music theory.  He is founder-director of an auditioned chamber choir based in the Bristol/North Wiltshire area, with which he is exploring the Tudor and Jacobean British choral repertoire.    He is a freelance conductor, organist, and harpsichordist.   Over the past few years he has given recitals as organ soloist, and in duet with his wife (the viola player Hilary Dewar), in Ripon, Portsmouth, Bristol cathedrals, Doncaster Minster and Malvern Priory, and other venues across the UK.


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