Musicians

Maurice Sklar, Violin

Maurice Sklar

Maurice began studying the violin at the age of four.   He attended the Juilliard School of Music in both the Pre-College program and Graduate School.   He is a graduate of Curtis Institute of Music.  He spent seven summers at the Meadowmount School of Strings.   Maurice studied with Miss Fredell Lack, Ivan Galamian, Dorothy Delay, David Cerrone, and Felix Galamir.    Maurice currently performs and ministers worldwide.

Maurice Sklar

Hilary Clark, Cello

Hilary Clark

Hilary has studied at UC Santa Barbara, Western Michigan University, UC Santa Cruz and Meadowmount School for Strings.   She has won several concerto competitions.  Hilary currently performs with Symphony of the Vines as Principal Cellist, SLO Symphony, Opera SLO, Santa Maria Philharmonic.

Dimitri Cogan, Piano

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Dmitriy Cogan is a native of Moscow where he studied at the Central Music School. Emigrating to the U.S. in 1974, he studied conducting at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He then attended Juilliard School of Music in New York, receiving Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. He performed his solo debut in Carnegie Recital Hall, was a prize winner in the 1981 Kosciuszko Chopin Competition, and has performed in major concert halls all over the world. Since 1985 he has also performed throughout North America and Asia with violinist Alexander Markov; their first compact disc was released worldwide on the Erato label.

Michael Whitson, Viola

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Michael is the founder of the Pacific Crest Music Festival and  is an active violist and teacher in the Los Angeles area. He has performed with  Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Blake Shelton, Itzahk Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, as well as many other artists and groups. He is a regular studio musician, having performed on numerous movie scores such as "Pirates of the Caribbean", "Despicable Me", and "A Wrinkle in Time". He has also recorded for many current television series such as "Empire", "Once Upon a Time", and "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD".

Michael teaches privately throughout Los Angeles, and is currently a Los Angeles Philharmonic Teaching Artist where he teaches viola and chamber music at the highly acclaimed and award-winning Harmony Project. He is currently serving as project manager for the L.A. Philharmonic's youth orchestra summer program in Idyllwild. 


He was awarded a full scholarship to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Paul Hersh. He then completed his graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma in which he was a member of the university's graduate string quartet. 

Along with his love for music, Michael is a passionate fly-fisherman, hiker, and sports fan.

Pacific Crest Music Festival

Greg Magie, French Horn

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Dr. Gregory Magie’s is the Founder of Symphony of the Vines.   A pianist and horn player, Dr. Magie discovered his true calling while in high school playing for the Herbert Blomstedt Conductor’s Institute.

He went on to earn performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, University of Redlands, and UCLA, and studied conducting with Jon Robertson, Marin Alsop, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, Neil Varon, and choral conducting with Donald Neuen.

Dr. Magie made his conducting debut with the Redlands Symphony in 1995 and was later appointed associate conductor. He has conducted the Rochester Philharmonic, Port Angeles Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Pasadena Lyric Opera, Arrowbear Music Camp Orchestra, and led the orchestras at Houghton College, San Francisco State University, Pomona College and Graceland University. Opera experience includes conducting productions with the Pasadena Lyric Opera, UCLA, Houghton College, San Francisco State and University of Redlands. Dr. Magie was director of the Pasadena Lyric Opera Chorus, Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church Choir, and the Chancel Choir at First Presbyterian in SLO.

Symphony of the Vines

Laura Hackstein, Viola

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Born in California, Laura started the violin at the age of 4 and started working professionally at the age of 10. Since then she has worked as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, orchestra musician (as concertmaster and section player), has performed for television, radio and film.  Laura has studied with Henri Temianka, Glenn Dicterow, Kathleen Winkler, Ian Swensen, Ivry Gitlis.

Caroline Tobin, Clarinet

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Caroline Tobin began studying the clarinet at age 13 her freshman year in high school.  Not satisfied with learning one instrument, the violin soon followed the next year and it was the violin that became her instrument throughout her undergraduate years at UCLA where she graduated with a BA in Fine Arts. A decade later she returned to the clarinet as a Master’s student at CSUN studying with Dominick Fera and Jim Kanter.  Following her Master’s degree in Clarinet Performance, she pursued further studies with Mitchell Lurie and Leon Russianoff who influenced not only her playing, but her teaching as well. Caroline became Principal Clarinet with the Ventura Symphony, holding that position for 21 years. Concurrently, she held the Bass Clarinetist position with the Santa Barbara Symphony for 25 years. Upon moving to the Central Coast with plans of retiring, Caroline found herself playing with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the Santa Maria Philharmonic and the Mozart Festival Orchestra as well as teaching clarinet and clarinet ensemble at both Cal-Poly and Cuesta Colleges. In addition to being Principal Clarinet with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Caroline holds that position with the Santa Maria Philharmonic, the Symphony of the Vines, Orchestra Novo and the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale.

Lisa Nauful, Bassoon

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Lisa Nauful holds a master's degree in bassoon and orchestral literature from Southern Methodist University where she was a Meadow's scholar. Her post-graduate studies were in Vienna, Austria. She earned her bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music in bassoon performance. She studied chamber music under Sol Schoenbach and Shirley Curtiss at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Nauful was a member of the Dallas Ballet and Dallas Opera Orchestras for five seasons, and has appeared with the Dallas Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the American Symphony and the New York Pops. Among her teachers were Bernard Garfield, K. David Van Hoesen, Karl Ohlberger and Wilfred Roberts. She is the owner of White Tie Records and Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings as well as the label manager for Chanticleer Records.

Ken Hustad, Bass

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Ken Hustad has been working on the Central Coast as a freelance musician and bass instructor for over 30 years, playing orchestral and chamber music, jazz, rock, blues and country, as well as working in theater and recording. He is co-principal bass for the San Luis Obispo Symphony and Orchestra Novo. For 20 consecutive years played in the Mozart Festival/Festival Moziac Orchestra under Clifton Swanson, Jeffrey Kahane and Scott Yoo. He maintains a private bass studio and is bass instructor at Cal Poly University and Cuesta College, bass coach for the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony and Orchestra Novo Summer String Workshop. Ken plays with Jim Self’s Tricky Lix Band, The Royal Garden Swing Orchestra, The Cinders Blues Band, The Mystery Trees, The Irene Cathaway Rhythm and Blues Band, The BarFlyz, and others. Working with Cal Poly Arts, he has performed and contracted ensembles for touring artists including the Broadway production of “Chicago,” Garrison Kiellor, Pink Martini, Manhattan Transfer and Diane Schuur. His teachers include Clifton Swanson, Buell Neidlinger, Paul Elison and Stuart Sankey.

Emily Lanzone, Violin

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Emily Lanzone earned a Master of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Nevada, Reno. She holds a professional studies diploma in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is associate concertmaster of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, and a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony, Santa Maria Philharmonic and Oregon Coast Music Festival. Lanzone is a past member of the Eugene Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory Baroque Ensemble and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. She also teaches violin at Cuesta College, and coaches for Central Coast orchestra camps.

Emily Lanzone

Jill Van Gee, Viola

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Jill Van Gee, violist, is a recent arrival to California, Ms. Van Gee is also a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and a former member of the San Antonio Symphony. She was Principal Violist with the Juilliard Orchestra for a summer residency in Spoleto, Italy, and during years spent in Canada, played with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Ms. Van Gee has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia and North America. A winner of the Canadian Music Competition, she was privileged to perform at the 2006 International Viola Congress.

Ms. Van Gee holds a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School, a Master of Music from the Université de Montréal, and has a private teaching studio.

Grace Seng, Violin

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Originally from Seattle, Grace started playing the violin at age three.   She graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, SummaCum Laude and a Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.  Grace performs regularly with Festival Mosaic, SLO Symphony, Opera SLO, SLO Master Chorale and many other local musical groups since moving to San Luis Obispo in 2003.  She maintains an active violin studio.