Faulkner University

Faculty - Music Department


Dr. Allen Clements

Faulkner University | Dr. Allen Clements
Director of Choral Activities
Phone: 334-386-7118
Email: aclements@faulkner.edu
Dr. Allen Clements joined the music department faculty in 2010 and serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Faulkner University. Clements earned his Bachelor of Music degree at Harding University. He went on to complete two Master of Music degrees at the University of Alabama: one in choral conducting and the other in music theory and composition. At the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Dr. Clements earned his Ph.D. in Music Education.

From 2003-2010, Clements was Director of Choral Activities at Southern Arkansas University. In addition to performing regular fall and spring concerts and organizing an annual spring tour, Clements and the SAU choirs hosted the annual Masterworks Festival, inviting area high school choirs to join them in the performance of such works as the Handel Coronation Anthem No. 4, Haydn's Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo, the Faure Requiem, Schubert's Mass in G Major, and the Bach motet Jesu, meine Freude. Clements and the SAU choirs frequently collaborated with the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and other area choirs to perform such major works as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Holst's Hodie, and Orff's Carmina Burana. While at SAU, Clements founded and served as the faculty advisor for the student chapter of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association). These students attended national and regional conventions, affording them the opportunity to participate in the ACDA Collegiate Honor choir and to lead a music reading session.

Dr. Clements has served as a guest conductor and clinician throughout Arkansas. In 2004 he conducted the El Dorado Choral in a performance of Handel's Messiah and, in 2005, he led the All-Region Senior High Mixed Choir at the Arkansas Choral Directors Association Southwest All-Region Choir Clinic/Concert. In 2009, Clements' article "Minority Students and Faculty in Higher Music Education" was published in the Music Educators Journal. His reviews of choral compact disc recordings are regularly published in the Choral Journal.

Andrew Cook

Faulkner University | Andrew Cook
Phone: 334-386-7656
Email: acook@faulkner.edu
Andrew Cook, is the director of bands and Assistant Professor of Music at Faulkner University. He received the Bachelor of Music degree from the College of Wooster and the Master of Music degree in saxophone performance from The Boston Conservatory. He is currently completing his DMA in music education at Boston University. He has served as director of bands at the Fenn School in Concord, MA and as an instructor of saxophone and director of woodwind ensembles at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. After leaving Boston, Cook directed the instrumental program, including the band, orchestra, and jazz ensemble at Ohio Valley University in Vienna, WV. He has served as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the Northeastern United States.

As a saxophonist, Mr. Cook has been a member of the Odyssey Saxophone Quartet, the Boston Saxophone Quartet, the Doug Hess Big Band, Undertango, and has performed with the Boston Civic Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Argentina/Brazil Jazz Festival of New York and with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra, where he premiered Kenji Jikuchi's Concerto for Alto Saxophone. As a student at The Boston Conservatory, Cook won the 1998 Conservatory Concerto Competition, the first saxophone, having premiered over 15 compositions by composers such as Matthew Herman and Seung-Ah Oh. He has studied saxophone and clarinet with Kennth Radnofsky, Curtis Johnson, Richard Dee, and Jose Rua.

Douglas Back

Faulkner University | Douglas Back
Doug Back received his Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the Florida State University and his Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Missouri/St. Louis. He has taught for more than 20 years in the Montgomery Public Schools Arts Magnet Programs and has been an adjunct instructor of guitar at Faulkner University, Troy State University, Alabama State University and Georgia Southwestern College. He was recognized as the Teacher of the Year by the International NETWORK of Performing Arts Schools in 2003 ( a network of over 150 international schools) and the Montgomery County Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2009.

Doug has authored four anthology/recordings of guitar music for Mel Bay Publications and more than 50 articles on fretted string instruments to a variety of publications. He has performed internationally throughout the United States, Australia, Great Britain and the Philippines. In addition to guitar, Doug performs on a wide spectrum of fretted instruments including classic five-string and plectrum banjo, mandolin, and renaissance lute. He is considered one of the leading masters of the 19th century classic banjo, and in 2006 he took First Prize in the Classical Mandolin Society of America's Classical Mandolin Championship.

Sharla A. Bender

Faulkner University | Sharla A. Bender
Email: sbender@faulkner.edu
Sharla Bender received her Bachelor's degree of the Arts from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL in 2004. Her coursework has included instruction in pedagogy (the technique of teaching) and performance. She has also received a Masters degree in Piano Performance in May 2007 from the University of Alabama and she is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts. She has served as camp counselor and faculty member of Summer Piano Camps for pre-college students at the University of Alabama and Huntingdon College since 2005. Her students are encouraged to perform publicly and enter music festivals, where they have received high ratings. At the University of Alabama she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Music Department. She is currently serving as faculty member in the music department of Faulkner University teaching both Class Piano and private lessons.

Scott Borders

Faulkner University | Scott Borders
Music Fundamentals & Class Piano
Scott Borders is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. He has worked professionally as a musician for 25 years. In 1985 Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Art from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1988 he received his Master of Church Music degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He served as adjunct professor of music at Faulkner University from 1992-2000. Scott taught music history, music theory, sight singing and ear training, keyboard harmony, form and analysis, class piano, private voice as well as private piano. He also accompanied the Faulkner Chorus and Faulkner Singers. He is very excited to be back on staff at Faulkner University. He has served on church staff as Minister of Music leading choirs, ensembles, musicians and praise teams. Scott has led worship teams in numerous conferences and workshops here in Montgomery and the Southeast. In 2008 Scott also led a Worship Team in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil at a Worship event of over 16,000 Christians. Scott is currently at Woodland United Methodist Church.

Dr. Robert L. Gibson

Faulkner University | Dr. Roberts L. Gibson
Email: rgibson@faulkner.edu
Robert Gibson, born in 1977, began his musical studies at age 11. In 2000 he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Guitar Performance from the University of Texas at San Antonio under the direction of Dr. Matthew Dunne. He completed a Master's of Music degree in 2002 and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2007 with Adam Holzman at the University of Texas at Austin where he was an assistant from 2005-2007.

In the summer of 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 Dr. Gibson studied with the legendary guitarist Oscar Ghiglia at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena Italy. Dr. Gibson has also studied with Pepe Romero, David Russell, Eliot Fisk, Sharon Isbin, Aaron Shearer, Leo Brouwer, Ricardo Cobo, Bruce Holzman and others in master class settings.

Robert has given performances in United States, Mexico, Spain and Italy. He has also performed as a soloist with several orchestras including the San Antonio Symphony, under the baton of Larry Rechleff. Robert is dedicated to performing and promoting new music for the guitar. Dr. Gibson has had the privilege of working with and premiering the works of such notable composers as Donald Grantham, James Norman and actor Sir Anthony Hopkins. Robert has won prizes in several competitions including the Appalachian Guitar Festival Competition, the U.T.S.A Concerto Competition and the Etude Music Club Competition and the M.T.N.A. National Competition. In addition he has also been a finalist in several national and international competitions, such as the 2000 American String Teachers Association competition and the 2001 Stotsenberg International Classical Guitar Competition. Dr. Gibson currently teaches guitar at Troy State University in Troy Alabama and B.T.W. Performing Arts Magnet High School in Montgomery Alabama.

Liana Gourdjia

Faulkner University | Liana Gourdjia
Liana Gourdjia began her studies at the Central Music School at the Moscow State Conservatory with renowned professors Iryna Bochkova and Maya Glezarova. She moved to the United States to continue her studies with David and Lina Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Liana received an Artist Diploma from the Jacob's School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she studied with Jaime Laredo. At the Indiana University she was the first recipient of the prestigious Jacob's scholarship, and was subsequently awarded the Performance Certificate for outstanding performances as part of her degree recitals.

Winner of the Sion-Valley (Tibor Varga) international competition, Liana has also won prizes at the Michael Hill, Corpus Christi, Hudson Valley and Kingsville International Competitions. She has soloed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ashville Symphony Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestras of Indiana University and the Cleveland Institute of Music under James Gaffigan, Shlomo Mintz, Carl Topilow, David Effron, Steven Smith, and Sergei Stadler. She served as concertmistress of the New Music Ensemble at Indiana University under direction of David Dzubay, with whom she soloed in the Violin Concertino by acclaimed composer Eugene O'Brien.

As an active chamber musician, Liana Gourdjia has collaborated with such artists as Peter Salaff, Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Sharon Robinson, David Jolley, Frank Morelli, Tara O'Connor, Sergei Babayan, Marc Coppey and the Talich String Quartet. Liana Gourdjia has performed at festivals including the 92/Y in New York, Les Musicales de Compesieres in Geneva, Les Musicales de Colmar, and is a laureate of Jeventus festival in France. A proponent of contemporary music, she has frequently premiered new works for violin from prominent and upcoming composers.

Liana Gourdjia was on faculty as assistant to professor Mimi Zweig at The Summer Music Academy at Indiana University and to David Cerone at the Encore School for Strings, USA.

Vickie Jewell

Faulkner University | Vickie Jewell
French Horn
M.M. in French Horn Performance from the University of Central Arkansas

Tiffany M. Nishibun

Faulkner University | Tiffany M. Nishibun
Email: tnishibun@faulkner.edu
Tiffany M. Nishibun has a B.A. in Music from Huntingdon College and a M.M. in vocal performance from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She has performed opera scenes as Gilda in Rigoletto, Barbarina and Susanna in Le nozze de Figaro, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte and Blonde in Abduction from the Seraglio. She has also performed in the productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors as the Mother, The Elixir of Love as Gianetta, La Traviata as Violetta, and Candide as Cunegonde. She has performed as a soloist in Charpentier's Te Deum, Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Creation, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Orff's Carmina Burana. Tiffany is an adjunct professor of music for Huntingdon College and Faulkner University. Not only is she involved in college-level education, but she is also the Director of Children's Ministries for The Episcopal Church of the Ascension where she sings in the choir.

Justin J. Rojek

Faulkner University | Justin J. Rojek
Piano and Theory
Email: jrojek@faulkner.edu
Justin is the organist and music assistant at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and an adjunct faculty member of Faulkner University. A native of Illinois, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Education in organ and choral music at Wheaton College (IL). He completed a Master of Sacred Music at Emory University and was the assistant chapel organist for Emory's Candler School of Theology. While in Atlanta, he also served as the assistant organist for Christ Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia. His career as a church musician began at age fifteen, and he has performed in recitals both in the United States and Great Britain. Mr. Rojek holds membership in the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society, as well as patriotic and historical organizations.

Abigail J. Walker

Faulkner University | Abigail J. Walker
Abigail Walker Graduated with her Master of Music Degree in bassoon performance in 2007 from The Shepherd's School of Music where she was a student of Benjamin Kamins. She also holds a Bachelors of Music from Florida State University and an Associate of Arts from Pensacola Junior College. She has performed with orchestras in Texas, Florida, Maryland, Indiana, Alabama, Nevada and California. Abigail's most influential teachers include Ben Kamins, Jeff Keesecker, Larry Slezak, Ray Pizzi, Whitney Crocket and Richard Jernigan.

Mrs. Walker is now living in her home town of Pensacola, Florida where, in addition to her work at Faulkner, she is instructor of Bassoon at the University of West Florida, Instructor of Music at Pensacola Junior College and has an active private bassoon and piano studio. Mrs. Walker has been an active substitute musician with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in addition to being Co-Principal Bassoon with the Northwest Florida Symphony and the Pensacola Symphony Orchestras. Starting with the 2009-2010 season, Mrs. Walker will be the main program director for the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra's Fifth-Grade Educational Concerts.

Mrs. Walker began her musical studies at the age of three, studying piano with her mother and later playing bassoon in her mother's home-school band. She has had a life-long love of music and espeically the artists that create and perform music.

Dr. Katrina Phillips

Faulkner University | Dr. Katrina Phillips
Dr. Katrina Phillips earned her Doctoral Degree in Clarinet Performance, with a Minor in Musicology, as well as her Master's Degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While in Illinois, she performed with Sinfonia da Camera and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. As winner of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, she performed Carl Nielsen's clarinet concerto. Currently, she performs with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and teaches applied clarinet and other music courses at colleges in southern Alabama. She has also taught at the Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp and Allerton Chamber Music Camp. She currently resides in Troy, Alabama with her husband, who is also a talented clarinetist.
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