Dr. James Buckland (Guitar)

Adjunct Professor of Guitar
BM, University of Toronto
MM, University of Akron
DMA, University of South Carolina
Office Phone: 864-833-8470
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James Buckland, guitarist, is Adjunct Professor of Guitar at Presbyterian College. He received his training at the University of Toronto under Eli Kassner (guitar) and Richard Kolb (lute), the University of Akron under Stephen Aron, and the University of South Carolina under Christopher Berg and Michael Cedric Smith.  Dr. Buckland also graduated with honors from the Guitar Institute of Technology jazz program in Hollywood, CA.  Dr. Buckland conducted post-doctoral research on nineteenth-century performance practice in cooperation with Paolo Pugliese, Claudio Maccari, and the Accademia Internazionale della Musica in Milan. Dr. Buckland recently traveled to Italy and performed at the Accademia in Milan.  Jim is co-founder of Ludlamshöhle, a chamber ensemble dedicated to nineteenth-century music.

James is also active as a guest clinician.  He has lectured and/or performed at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention (1999, 2006 & 2012), the Great Lakes Guitar Festival, the Symposium on Guitar and Improvisation, and the Guild of American Luthiers Convention (2008, 2011 & 2014).  Dr. Buckland premiered his reconstruction of the Second Concerto, Op. 36, for Terz Guitar and String Orchestra by Mauro Giuliani with Sinfonia de Camera conducted by Ian Hobson.  The performance was featured in a broadcast on Illinois Public Radio.  Dr. Buckland has performed the concerto on numerous occasions, most recently in Alaska with the University of Alaska-Anchorage Orchestra.

Recent publications featuring Dr. Buckland include an interview in the Guild of American Luthiers quarterly journal American Lutherie (#103, Fall 2010 and #98, Summer 2009), 19th Century Guitar Making Techniques (AL#103 Fall 2010), Review of Three Ancient Lutherie Books (AL#104, Winter, 104), and Pons Guitar Aine, Paris 1825: A History and Blueprint (AL #104).  Jim was also cited in The King’s Guitarist: The life and Times of Marco Aurelio Zani de Ferranti (1801-1878) by Marcus Van de Cruys. Homunculus (Wijnegem, Belgium, 2005).

Unique in his field, Dr. Buckland is also a luthier.  He builds guitars primarily in the nineteenth-century style, using original tools, materials and techniques, following the work of Fabricatore, Guadagnini and Stauffer.  During recent trips to Italy, Dr. Buckland had the opportunity to examine original instruments owned and used by numerous celebrated guitarists.  The findings from his research as a guitar builder allowed Jim to recreate reproductions of these historical instruments.

Dr. Buckland is one of a few guitarists in the world who performs on both the terz guitar and the conventional concert guitar.  His CD, “Sonatas and Fantasias for Guitar” has won critical acclaim… “a rare and exceptional recording…very operative influence with blistering arpeggios and cadenzas. Top notch Highly recommended.” EarlyRomanticGuitar

Dr. Karen Buckland (Department Chair, Piano, PC Piano Ensemble, History)


Professor of Music, Piano, History
BM, Mansfield University
MM, University of South Carolina
DMA, University of South Carolina
Office Phone: 864-833-8467
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Karen Wisser Buckland, pianist, is the Chair of the Department, a Professor of Music, and a Faculty Advocate at Presbyterian College. Dr. Buckland is the Director of Keyboard Studies, and the artistic director of the annual PC Piano Clinic. She is the faculty advisor for the Gamma Omicron chapter of Delta Omicron at Presbyterian College.

Dr. Buckland received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Mansfield University, and earned a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina. Her teachers include Raymond Dudley, John Adams, William Goode, and Max Camp. Active as a soloist and collaborator, adjudicator, and guest lecturer, Dr. Buckland has performed throughout the Southeast, Pennsylvania, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and Canada. Dr. Buckland recently presented Piano Techniques and Effects in Piano Music: An Historical Approach to Pedaling (Northern Nevada Music Teachers Association), The Musical Score: “Teach an Inch, Learn a Mile” (South Carolina Music Educators Association Convention), and a performance lecture entitled Isaak-Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870): The Forgotten Pianist Composer and his Etudes, Op. 70a.

Recent adjudication includes the Alaska Piano Competition held at the University of Alaska-Anchorage and the Collegiate Piano Competition at the South Carolina Music Teachers Association Conference.

Drs. Karen and Jim Buckland are the co-founders and performers of Ludlamshöhle, a chamber ensemble dedicated to nineteenth-century music.

Dr. Buckland is a member and the President of the Piano Division of the South Carolina Music Educators Association, a member of the National Association for Music Education, a member of the Music Teachers National Association and the South Carolina Music Teacher Association, and a member of the Guild of American Organists. Karen is the organist and pianist at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, SC.

Dr. Ron Davis (Organ, Theory, Handbells, Cantare!)

Professor of Music, Organ, Handbells, & Theory
BM, Ouachita Baptist University
MM, University of Kansas
DMA, University of Kansas
Office Phone: 864-833-8422
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Dr. Ron Davis, Associate Professor of Music, came to Presbyterian College in 2004.  He is Director of Studies in Music Theory and Sacred Music.  His responsibilities also include teaching organ, voice, composition, and occasionally, harpsichord.  Dr. Davis is the conductor of Cantare!, PC’s non-auditioned choir for men, and PC Ringers, Presbyterian College’s outstanding handbell choir.  He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, and Handbell Musicians of America (formerly AGEHR) where he has served as the South Carolina State Chair.

Dr. Davis has been heard in organ performances throughout the US and Great Britain, including a solo performance at Westminster Abbey, London.  He has also been heard recently as tenor soloist with the Augusta Choral Society’s performance of Handel’s Messiah and Greenville Light Opera Works’ production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

In addition, Dr. Davis accompanies the PC Choir and travels with them as they tour annually.  He has written choral works which have been heard in churches and choral performances in the upstate of SC.

Dr. Christian Elser (Baritone, PC Choir, Opera/Musical Theatre Workshop)

Associate Professor of Music — Vocal Studies, Opera, Musical Theater
AS, Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts
BM, University of Wisconsin
MM, Northwestern University
DMA, University of Kansas
Office Phone: 864-833-8466
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Baritone, Dr. Christian Elser is Associate Professor of Music at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he is Voice Division Director, Director of Choral Activities and Director of the PC Opera & Musical Theatre program. He has performed in opera, operetta and musical theatre with a variety of organizations in opera, operetta and musical theatre such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lyric Opera Cleveland, LOOK Musical Theatre, Charleston Chamber Orchestra, Florence Symphony, Jefferson Performing Arts Society (New Orleans), Augusta Opera, Tulsa Project Theatre, and Centre Stage Theatre of South Carolina.  Dr. Elser has recorded for Cedille Records on the world premiere recording of Robert Kurka’s The Good Soldier Schweikas well as for Centaur Records on a project of previously un-recorded Songs of Sergei Taneyev. In broadcast he has performed live in concert on WFMT Chicago’s Live from Studio One and on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Live from the Elvejhem series, among others. Additionally, Dr. Elser is the co-founder, Executive Director and Music Director of Glow Lyric Theatre in Greenville. Glow is South Carolina’s only professional lyric theatre producing musical theatre, opera and operetta and is currently in its 10th Season. Over the years many talented current and former voice students have had the opportunity to gain important professional stage experience through Glow apprenticeships. Christian holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Music in Historical Musicology from Northwestern University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice from the University of Kansas.

Mr. Gary Hipp (Pipe Major & PC Pipers)

Gary Hipp 1
Adjunct Professor of Bagpipe
BS, University of Florida
MA, University of Florida
Office Phone: 864-833-8470
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Gary Hipp teaches the Great Highland Bagpipes at Presbyterian College.  He serves as Pipe Major for the Presbyterian College Pipes and Drums, an ensemble which welcomes musicians from the college and the local community.  In addition, he offers private lessons for new and experienced pipers.  These lessons are available to all PC students as well as members of the local community through the pre-college program.

He is a former member of the Palmetto Pipes and Drums of Columbia, SC, and still teaches for that group.  He pipes solo for weddings, funerals, church services and other events throughout South Carolina.

His training includes annual classes at the North American Academy of Piping with internationally acclaimed pipers such as: Sandy Jones, Colin MacLellan, Ed Neigh, Greg Abbott, Bill Caudill and others.

Dr. Rob Howiler (Theory)

Assistant Professor of Music, Theory, and Electronic Music
BM, Berklee College of Music
MM, University of South Carolina
DMA, University of South Carolina
Office Phone: 864-833-8324
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Mr. Matthew C. Jones (Percussion)

Adjunct Professor of Percussion
BM, University of South Carolina
Office Phone: 864-833-8470
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Performs regularly with the SC Philharmonic, the Aiken Symphony, and the Augusta Symphony. Performs in churches throughout South Carolina, as well as theaters. Has played with the Greenville Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, and the Florence Symphony. Teaches at Lander and Columbia College in addition to PC.

Ms. Lucie Svatonova (Mezzo-Soprano, Bella Voce)

LUCIESVATONOVAAdjunct Professor of Voice
BA, Charles Universty, Prague
BM, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague
MM, Converse College
Office Phone: 864-833-8577
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Lucie Svatonova-Hughes, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Prague, Czech Republic, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Academy of Performing Arts.  Ms. Svatonova has been a soloist with the St. James Cathedral Choir and Orchestra and has frequently performed with the Prague Radio Chorus, Vox Pragae, and Opera Mozart throughout Europe.  She came to the U.S. in 1996 and in 1999 received a Master of Music degree from Converse College.  Ms. Svatonova has been a member of Herring Chamber Ensemble and Heritage Chamber Singers in Greenville, SC, and a soloist with The Greenville Symphony and Chorale, Newberry Opera, Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic, Asheville Symphony and Chorus, Hendersonville Chorale, Columbia Choral Society, Augusta Choral Society, Foothills Philharmonic, GLOW Lyric Theatre and Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium.  She also frequently performs in operatic, sacred, and art song recitals.  Ms. Svatonova enjoys working with aspiring young artists and has extensive teaching experience, having worked as an instructor at University of South Carolina Upstate, Erskine College, Dorman High School, Converse Pre-College, Spartanburg Community College, and Le Chateau de Danse.  She has been involved with the highly acclaimed Arts Integration Program through the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville and has also worked with several church choirs in the area. Ms. Svatonova joined the faculty at Presbyterian College in 2007.

Dr. Richard Thomas (Cello & PC Chamber Orchestra)


Associate Professor of Music, Cello, Orchestra
BM, DePauw University
MM, University of North Texas
DMA, University of South Carolina
Office Phone: 864-833-8469
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Dr. Richard Thomas is Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of String Studies at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, where he teaches cello, bass, chamber music, and directs the Presbyterian College Chamber Orchestra. He is also on the faculty of the Laurens County Academy of Music and is Adjunct Instructor of Cello at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. Thomas has lectured, taught, and performed in China, Japan, Taiwan, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and throughout the United States.

He is a former faculty member of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the University of South Carolina Aiken, the Universidad del Cauca and Universidad del Valle (Colombia, South America), the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica (Santo Domingo, DR), the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and the Wilmington Academy of Music. From 1999-2008 he was String Department Head at Camp Encore-Coda in Sweden, Maine.

Thomas held positions in the cello sections of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia), the Orquesta Sinfónica del Valle (Cali, Colombia), and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Santo Domingo, DR). He was Principal Cellist of the Wilmington Symphony and Tallis Chamber Orchestra in North Carolina, the Irving Symphony and Garland Symphony in Texas, the Encore-Coda Chamber Orchestra in Maine, and was Assistant Principal of the South Carolina Philharmonic, the East Texas Symphony, and played in the Dallas Lyric Opera Orchestra. Thomas was also a member of Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium (GAMAC) in Anderson, SC and played double bass in the Anderson Symphony.

Dr. Thomas studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, DePauw University, Temple University, the University of North Texas, and received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina. His cello teachers include Cassel Grubb, Alan Harris, Robert Jesselson, Hirofumi Kano, Robert Newkirk, and Adolfo Odnoposoff.

Mr. Andrew Sheffield (Piano, Collaborative Piano, Theory, Director of LCAM)

Andrew Sheffield, director of the Laurens County Academy of Music and adjunct instructor at Presbyterian College and Newberry College, received his bachelor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his master of music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His principal teachers include Frank Weinstock and Robert Weirich, with additional studies with Eteri Andjapridze and Maurice Hinson and collaborative coaching from Donna Loewy. Having made his concerto debut at age 16 with the Macon Symphony Orchestra, Andrew has performed extensively as both a soloist and a collaborator, including at the International Festival-Institute at Round Top (TX), the Kansas City Cello Clinic, and the International Clarinet Society’s ClarinetFest; in masterclasses with renowned pianists Richard Goode and David Korevaar; and as a featured artist of the St. Louis Artist Presentation Society. In addition to his work at PC and Newberry, Andrew accompanies the Laurens County Chorale.

Dr. Essena Setaro (Violin, Viola)

Violinist Essena Setaro enjoys a varied career as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, and educator. She performs with the Greenville, Asheville, Augusta, and Charleston Symphonies and often serves as Acting Associate Concertmaster and Acting Principal Second of the Hilton Head Symphony. Dr. Setaro has also been a member of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, Hillman Opera, and Fredonia Chamber Players in NY, was Senior Associate Concertmaster of the SC Philharmonic for 4 seasons, and has served as Guest Concertmaster of several ensembles including the Long Bay and Hendersonville Symphonies.

Festival appearances include full fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center where she was student Associate Concertmaster of BMCO under David Effron. In 2010, Dr. Setaro was chosen to serve as Associate Concertmaster of the Castleton Festival Orchestra under the baton of renowned conductor Lorin Maazel. She has shared the stage with many soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, Emanuel Ax, David Kim, Peter Serkin, Mark O’Connor, Rachel Barton Pine, Edgar Meyer, Sharon Isbin, Garrick Ohlsson, and Vadim Gluzman. Her diverse collaborations cut across musical styles and she has also worked with many musicians and ensembles from outside the classical genre such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, Art Garfunkel, America, Air Supply, Doc Severinsen, Wynton Marsalis, and Wynonna Judd.

As a member of the Armoni Quartet, Dr. Setaro worked closely with William Preucil, David Salness, and members of the Miami Quartet at the Brevard Music Center. She also performed on both viola and violin in the USC Graduate String Quartet and with numerous other chamber ensembles.

A passionately devoted teacher, Dr. Setaro has taught privately since 2002 and was formerly an instructor at Bard College, Dutchess Community College, Stringendo Orchestra School, and Columbia International University. Dr. Setaro had the honor of serving as Dr. William Terwilliger’s Teaching Assistant at USC for 5 years and is an active member of the American String Teachers Association. For over 20 years, she has explored the art of performing and teaching free improvisation with mentors from the organization Music for People including Dr. David Rudge and cellist David Darling. She also presents special solo and quartet programs at schools throughout South Carolina as part of Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s Musical Bridges program.

Dr. Setaro earned her B.M. from SUNY Fredonia where she studied with Dr. Cornelius Dufallo and Dr. David Rudge. She pursued graduate studies at University of Maryland where she was coached by members of the Guarneri Quartet, studied viola with Michael Tree and Katherine Murdock, and violin with James Stern, Arnold Steinhardt, and John Dalley. Dr. Setaro received both her M.M. and D.M.A. in Violin Performance from USC as a student of Dr. William Terwilliger. Further study was with David Russell at his Mountaintop Mastercourse in Keene, NY and with Connie Heard and Sylvia Rosenberg at the Aspen Music Festival.

Dr. Setaro is an avid performer of new music, especially works inspired by folk music from around the world. She is especially fascinated by East European fiddle, Roma (Gypsy) music, and Klezmer. Her dissertation Solo Violin Works Influenced by Romanian Lăutari Music is available through ProQuest and she has designed and performed several innovative multimedia recitals based on her research.

Ms. Amy Link (Music Education, Voice)

Amy Link Music Department Faculty Presbyterian CollegeAmy H. Link holds a BA in Music Education from Presbyterian College and an MM from Converse College. She has taught public school General Music and Chorus since 1995 and currently teaches Music at Joanna-Woodson Elementary School and Chorus and Theatre at Clinton Middle School. As an active participant in the performing arts, Amy is a member of the Laurens County Chorale and the Sandlapper Singers (based in Columbia) and is a frequent soloist in concerts with these groups as well as with the chancel choir of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Clinton. She has appeared in numerous productions with the Laurens County Community Theatre, Greenwood Community Theatre and the Abbeville Opera House. As a parent of a current PC student, Amy is very active at campus events, including those involving the PC Parents Council, of which she is the chair.

Mr. Matthew Castner (Saxophone, Clarinet)

Saxophonist and educator Matthew Castner is currently a DMA Candidate at the University of South Carolina, where he serves as an instructor in the Music History Department, teaching MUSC 110: Introduction to Music. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at South Carolina State University and Presbyterian College, teaching applied saxophone and clarinet lessons. Previously, he was the Saxophone Teaching Assistant for Dr. Clifford Leaman.

Recent performance highlights include a trip to Moscow, Russia to perform James Whitbourn’s Son of God Masswith the Ex Oriente Lux Chamber Choir, a collaborative performance with inmates at the Lee Correctional Institute, and a saxophone quartet tour of Helsinki, Finland. He is also a regular performer at North American Saxophone Alliance conferences, as well as the International Saxophone Symposium.

Active as a chamber musician, Matthew has previously held positions in the Parea, Orphic and Ingeniare Saxophone Quartets, as well as the Spark Collective. In competition the groups have advanced to the semi-finals of the NASA Quartet Competition, the finals of the Coltman Chamber Music Competition and were selected as the winners for Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition in the state of Texas.

As winner of the Case Western Reserve University Concerto Competition, he performed Paul Creston’s Concerto for Alto Saxophonewith the University Circle Wind Ensemble. A 2018 attendee of the Frederick L. Hemke Saxophone Institute, he worked closely with Dr. Hemke, Dr. John Sampen, Dr. Nathan Nabb, Dr. Gail Levinsky, Dr. Jan Berry-Baker, and Dr. Sean Hurlburt. He has also performed in masterclasses for Jean-Marie Londeix, Phil Woods, Dr. Frederick Hemke, Dr. Stephen Page, Taimur Sullivan, Philippe Geiss and the Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet.

Matthew completed his Master of Music Degree in Saxophone Performance at Stephen F. Austin State University, and dual undergraduate degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Music at Case Western Reserve University where he utilized the joint program with the Cleveland Institute of Music. His primary instructors include Dr. Clifford Leaman, Dr. Nathan Nabb, Greg Banaszak and Jeremy Williamson.

Mr. Bradford Parton (Bassoon, Oboe)

Bradd Parton Music Department Presbyterian CollegeBradd Parton, bassoonist, is certified in music by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He has taught in the public school system since 1997 serving students from first grade through college. Mr. Parton earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Furman University where he served as a Furman Advantage Teaching Assistant and a Master of Music Education degree from the University of South Carolina where he was employed as a Graduate Assistant. Mr. Parton’s primary teachers include William Moody, Leslie Hicken, Robert Chesebro, Jim Copenhaver, and Frank Watson. Students and ensembles under Mr. Parton’s direction have consistently received numerous superior ratings at state music festivals in SC. In addition to his adjunct schedule at PC, Mr. Parton currently teaches orchestra in Laurens School District 55. He is also an active clinician at schools and literary conferences throughout the southeast.

Mr. Tad Riddle (PC Wind Ensemble, Trombone, Low Brass)

Tad Riddle is a retired music teacher having taught band and elementary music for 25 years.  Tad is a freelance trombone performer in and around the Greenville area and is the director of the Presbyterian College Wind Ensemble and Pep Band, in addition to serving as the director of the Upstate Senior Concert Band and the orchestra at Taylors First Baptist Church.

Tad holds an ME in Education Technology from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, a BA in Music Education from Lander University in Greenwood and attended Furman University.  He has studied with Dan Ellis, Larry Cook and Mark Britt.

Tad’s performing experiences include: Pit orchestras: Greenville Light Opera Works Orchestra (GLOW), Greenville Little Theater, S.C. Children’s Theatre, Fountain Inn Repertory Experience (F.I.R.E.) and Greenwood Community Theatre; Orchestras: Anderson Symphony Orchestra; Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra; Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra; Jazz groups: Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble, Electric City Jazz (Anderson); also various churches, concert bands and ensembles; former handbell director at Taylors First Baptist Church; a member of the Furman Lakeside Band since 1970.  Tad is also a member of the Palmetto Posaunen, a trombone ensemble made up of professional trombonists from a 5-state region.  The Posaunenhave performed in Chicago, Washington, DC, Savannah, GA, Spoleto in Charleston and most recently at the 2011 International Trombone Festival in Nashville, TN.

Dr. Heather Neely (Trumpet)

Heather McNeely received her BM in trumpet performance from Bob Jones University in 1996, her MMus degree in musicology from Converse College in 1999, and her DMA in music education from Boston University in 2013. She began teaching private trumpet lessons as an undergraduate student at BJU, giving her roughly 20 years of teaching experience, both in the classroom and privately.

Currently, in addition to maintaining her trumpet studio, Heather performs regularly in local churches, community groups, and as a member of the Impact of Brass, a local brass quintet. As a classroom teacher and scholar, Heather specializes in quantitative research in music education and music appreciation pedagogy, and she greatly enjoys teaching music appreciation courses at Greenville Technical College. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor of music at Bob Jones University for 13 years, where she taught music history courses and private trumpet lessons to students from middle school to university age.

Heather loves connecting with students and helping them gain confidence and solve problems. She wants to inspire in her students a love for beautiful playing and for music in general.