Symphony of the Vines 10th Season 2019 – 2020

Explore past concerts from our 2019 – 2020 10th Anniversary Season!

Clarinet Quintet

Wednesday, February 12, 7pm | Monarch Club at Trilogy, Nipomo

Thursday, February 13, 4pm | Pear Valley Estate Wine, Paso Robles

Featuring Nancy Mathison, clarinet, Grace Seng and Valerie Berg-Johansen, violin, Andrew Grishaw, viola, Hilary Clark, cello

Clarinetist Nancy Mathison joins Symphony of the Vines to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Season with an exciting program for the musicians and audience alike. Enjoy the unique timbre of the clarinet accompanied by a string quartet in this delightful concert featuring great chamber works for the clarinet by Mozart et al.

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Clarinetist Nancy Mathison joins a string quartet for great chamber music works by composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gerald Finzi and Astor Piazzolla. The quintet includes musicians Grace Seng and Valerie Berg-Johansen, violin, Andrew Grishaw, viola, and Hilary Clark, cello.


We are pleased to present a Student Spotlight featuring Joseph Galicinao, horn musician from Pioneer Valley High School. Watch an interview with Joseph here:

Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, K.581 – Mozart

This program features Mozart’s Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, K.581. Mozart was one of the first composers to use the clarinet in a symphony. Mozart’s fascination with the clarinet late in life resulted from his friendship with the Austrian clarinet virtuoso Anton Stadler (1753-1812), one of the composer’s fellow Freemasons in Vienna.  It was for Stadler that Mozart wrote the Quintet, K.581.


Five Bagatelles, Opus 23 – Finzi

Gerald Finzi was an exceptionally interesting figure.  Trained in York and London, he was a sensitive and introspective man who eventually renounced the life of the city and moved with his wife to the countryside. Finzi’s Five Bagatelles took shape over a long period.  It appears that he began work on some pieces for clarinet and piano during the 1920s, when he was still a music student in London, and then set them aside.  He returned to his sketches nearly two decades later, during World War II. Finzi was a pacifist, but he understood what was at stake during that war, and he spent the war working for the Ministry of War Transport in London.  In 1941 he returned to his early sketches and composed the first three bagatelles, adding a fourth in 1942.  These were premiered in January 1943, but when it came time to publish this music, Finzi’s publisher felt that the four pieces needed a fast finale, so Finzi composed the concluding Fughetta. The Five Bagatelles have become one of Finzi’s most popular compositions, and they are heard at this concert in an arrangement by Christopher Alexander for clarinet and string quartet.


Oblivion – Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla was a fabulously talented young man, and that wealth of talent caused him some confusion as he tried to decide on a career path.  Very early he learned to play the bandoneon, the Argentinian accordion-like instrument that uses buttons rather than a keyboard, and he became a virtuoso on it. He gave concerts, made a film soundtrack, and created his own bands before a desire for wider expression drove him to the study of classical music. In 1954 he received a grant to study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and it was that great teacher who advised him to follow his passion for the Argentinian tango as the source for his own music.


Piazzolla returned to Argentina and gradually evolved his own style, one that combines the tango, jazz, and classical music. In his hands, the tango–which had deteriorated into a soft, popular form–was revitalized. Oblivion comes from the sultry side of the tango. Over the melting rhythms of the opening, the haunting and dark main theme sings its sad song, and this will return in a number of guises.  Piazzolla varies the accompaniment beneath this tune, and the tango stays firmly within its somber and expressive opening mood.


Nightclub 1960 from l’histoire du tango – Piazzola (arr. Ulrich Nyffeler)

In the mid-1980s Piazzolla published what has become one of his most popular works, L’histoire du tango, a survey of how that form had evolved in four different decades across the twentieth century.  Piazzolla originally scored his “History of the Tango” for flute and guitar as a way of evoking the tango’s origins, but this music has been heard in countless arrangements, and at this concert its third movement, Night Club 1960, is heard in an arrangement for clarinet and string quartet. Night Club 1960 brings us the tango in transition toward something livelier, as contemporary Latin dance forms began to reinvigorate it.



Bach Cello Suites

Saturday, January 25, 1pm | Grace Bible Church, Arroyo Grande

Sunday, January 26, 4pm | Pear Valley Estate Wine, Paso Robles

Featuring cellists Jeanne Shumway, Barbara Hunter-Spencer, and Hilary Clark.

Last season this trio of cellists performed three suites from Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, and they return to finish the set.  These preludes and dances show off the versatility and virtuosity of the cello.

Suite No. 1
Suite No. 5
Suite No. 6

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Symphony of the Vines is completing the cycle of Bach’s Cello Suites. Last season, we presented suites 2, 3 and 4. This program features the Bach’s first and last two suites in the series.  Each artist presents her own vision of these intimate works.  Featuring cellists Jeanne Shumway, Barbara Hunter-Spencer, and Hilary Clark.

Bach’s Cello Suites are some of the most emotionally intense pieces in the Baroque repertoire, making the most of the emotional depth of a solo cello and using a wide range of complex playing techniques.

There are six suites in all, each with six movements, each of which acts like a musical conversation – high passages are echoed by reflective low playing, and dense chords accompany delicate ornamental flourishes. The most famous movement, the ‘Prelude’ from Suite No. 1 in G, is a great example of Bach’s genius; there is no accompaniment, but the harmony plays out note-by-note like a musical journey, as chords are implied over the course of a bar rather than played.

Interestingly, there are no tempo markings for any of the movements given by the composer. Therefore, it is up to the performer to choose the suitable pulse for her interpretation.

 Suite No. 1 – Jeanne Shumway

Suite No. 5 – Barbara Hunter-Spencer

Suite No. 6 – Hilary Clark

For such a popular set of works, it is amazing how little we know about the genesis of the Cello Suites. Bach’s manuscript of them is lost, with little chance it will ever be found. So musicians have relied on a copy written out by his second wife, Anna Magdalena.

It’s perhaps more astounding that these amazing works weren’t widely known before the 1900s, and were merely dismissed as studies. 

The Cello Suites are an integral part of the cello repertoire. Most well-known cellists regard performing and recording the whole set as a milestone in their career. 

The Suites for Unaccompanied Cello


Born March 21, 1685, Eisenach

Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig

Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello date from about 1720, when the composer was kapellmeister (director of music) and working for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen in Leipzig,

Germany.  Bach did not play the cello, and it may well be that he wrote these suites for Christian Ferdinand Abel, cellist in the Köthen orchestra and one of the best cellists in Europe. Abel and Bach became good friends (Bach was the godfather of one of Abel’s sons), and almost certainly the two worked together as these suites were composed: Bach would have asked him what was possible and what was not, what worked and what didn’t, and so on.  The result is music for cello that is very idiomatically written but also supremely difficult, and all by itself this music may tell us how high the standard of music-making was in the Cöthen court when Bach was there.  Bach’s suites for solo cello remained for years the property of a handful of connoisseurs–they were not published until 1828, over a century after they were written.

Bach understood the term “suite” to mean a collection of dance movements in the basic sequence of allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue, which is the same sequence of movements of his instrumental partitas.  But Bach added an introductory prelude to all six cello suites, and into each suite he interpolated one extra dance movement just before the final gigue to make a total of six movements.  All movements after the opening prelude are in binary form.

Bach’s cello suites have presented performers with a host of problems because none of Bach’s original manuscripts survives.  The only surviving copies were made by Bach’s second wife and one of his students, and – lacking even such basic performances markings as bowings and dynamics – these texts present performers with innumerable problems of interpretation.  In a postscript to his edition of these suites, Janos Starker notes that one of the pleasures of going to heaven will be that he will finally be able to discuss with Bach himself exactly how the composer wants this music played. In the meantime, individual performers must make their own artistic decisions, and these suites can sound quite different in the hands of different cellists.


Baroque Masters Symphony Concert

Saturday, January 11, 7pm | Trinity Methodist Church, Los Osos

Sunday, January 12, 3pm | Mission San Miguel

Dr. Greg Magie, director

Symphony of the Vines is an orchestra made up of great musicians who expertly step into the limelight to perform as soloists.  

Indulge in the greatest works by the 18th Century masters brilliantly performed by Symphony of the Vines.  Works by J. S. Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli, Telemann, and Geminiani.

Please click “read more” for the entire Baroque Masters Symphony Concert program!

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Indulge in the greatest works by 18th Century master composers brilliantly performed by Symphony of the Vines.  Works by J. S. Bach, Marcello, Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli, and Geminiani.

The music of these baroque masters are made up of multiple threads weaving together a beautiful tapestry of sound.  It is likely that many of these works were intended to be performed with one player on a part, which is the approach we are taking with this concert.  This highlights the clarity of the polyphonic writing and the colors of the individual instruments.  The composers on this program represent the greatest masters of the era.

The concert features several “Concerto Grosso” works that feature two solo violins and cello.  We rotate our exceptional violinists around so that each of them have the opportunity to play both solo parts and “ripieno,” or orchestra, parts.  

Two of the works on the program feature single soloists.  Cellist, Hilary Clark, will perform Marcello’s Sonata in F.  Violinist, Maurice Sklar, will perform J. S. Bach’s famous Concerto No. 2 in E.  These concerts are presented in two acoustically and aesthetically excellent spaces; Trinity Los Osos, and Mission San Miguel.  

Baroque Masters tickets are $15 Adult, $27 Senior and $15 Students. Students K-12 are free with a paid adult thanks to a sponsorship from Jim and Carolyn Brescia. Tickets are available at the door or online at

Maurice Sklar, violin

Dr. Maurice Sklar was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a Russian-Jewish family with a rich musical heritage. At age four, he began playing the violin. He won numerous awards from the age of nine, and left home to study violin with Fredell Lack in Houston, Texas, when he was only thirteen. He attended Meadowmount Summer Music School, Ivan Galamian’s Strings Camp, for seven consecutive years from the age of thirteen to nineteen. 

Accepted at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City at the age of fifteen, Maurice subsequently won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music at the age of sixteen, where he studied with the great violin teacher, Ivan Galamian.

Dr. Maurice Sklar has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and he continues to perform concerts across the country and abroad. 

Hilary Clark, cello

Hilary Clark studied cello performance at UC Santa Barbara, Western Michigan University, UC Santa Cruz, and the Meadowmount School for Strings. Currently she performs with numerous local chamber groups, Santa Maria Philharmonic, and is a nuclear medicine technologist at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Symphony of the Vines, Dr. Greg Magie, Music Director


Violin: Emily Lanzone, Valerie Berg-Johansen, Maurice Sklar, Grace Seng

Viola: Andrew Grishaw

Cello: Hilary Clark

Bass: David George

Harpsichord: Paul Woodring



 Concerto Grosso in A Minor, op. 3, no. 8   –   A. Vivaldi

            Emily Lanzone & Valerie Berg-Johansen                   

 Sonata I  –   B. Marcello     

            Hilary Clark     

Concerto Grosso “La Follia” in D Minor –  F. Geminiani  

            Grace Seng & Hilary Clark      

Concerto Grosso in G Minor, op. 6, no. 8 “Christmas” –  A. Corelli

            Valerie Berg-Johansen & Grace Seng

Concerto for Violin in E Major –  J. S. Bach        

            Maurice Sklar 

 Concerto Grosso in A Major, op. 6, no. 11 –   G. F. Handel   

            Valerie Berg-Johansen & Emily Lanzone       


Holiday Brass

Sunday, December 15, 4pm | Atascadero Community Church

Wednesday, December 18, 7pm | Monarch Club at Trilogy in Nipomo

David Johns and Christopher Woodruff – trumpet, Greg Magie – horn, David Landers – trombone, Rod Mathews – tuba.

Add brass and class to your holiday season with Symphony of the Vines Brass Quintet!  The holidays sparkle more brightly with brass, and this concert is sure to create lasting memories.  The program combines original compositions for brass with holiday favorites by some of Hollywood’s greatest arrangers and composers.

Please click “read more” for the entire Holiday Brass music program!

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Meet the musicians:

David Johns (trumpet) – has a Master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Southern California. On the Central Coast, he has played with the Santa Maria Symphony, SLO Symphony, SLO Opera Orchestra, Lompoc Pops, SLO Trumpet Alliance and several jazz ensembles. Prior to moving from LA, he played in many local community orchestras including the Santa Barbara, Ventura, S. F. Valley, and Burbank Symphonies. He has recorded a CD with his wife who plays the harp titled, “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and recorded two CD’s with the Tower Brass Quintet “Sacred Sounds” and “Rejoice.”

Christopher J. Woodruff (trumpet) – was appointed to a teaching position at Cal Poly in fall 2006 and is currently serving as director of bands and instructor of trumpet. In addition to his responsibilities with the concert and athletic bands, he lectures in music theory, music education and music appreciation.

A graduate of Louisiana State University and Northwestern University, Chris has studied and/or performed with a number of amazing trumpet pedagogues, including Tim Morrison, Jose Sibaja, Gábor Tarkövi, and Mark O’Keefe. As a conductor, he has served as guest conductor for a number of groups, including the Northshore Chamber Orchestra, University of Chicago Wind Ensemble and Paso Pops. His concert performances abroad have included events in Austria, Great Britain, Ireland, South Korea, and Australia.

Locally, Chris regularly performs with several groups such as Symphony of the Vines, Orchestra Novo and San Luis Obispo Master Chorale.

When he’s not preparing lectures, designing marching band drill or playing long tones, he may be found cycling along the vineyards of San Luis Obispo County or exploring the universe in a TARDIS. 

Rod Mathews (tuba) –  is Principal Tuba of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, and previously held the same position with the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Sacramento Symphony. Rod performs regularly with orchestras across Northern California including the Monterey Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Fresno Philharmonic, and the Modesto Symphony and is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

David Landers (trombone) Since 1981, music has been an integral part of the life of David Landers. Starting as a trombonist, “Landers”, as he is known to many people, quickly found that the language of music resonated with him in a profound way. Thanks to his teachers, his abilities as a musician developed quickly, inspiring him to make it his life’s work. Mr. Landers holds a BM in Music Education from MTSU and an MM in Conducting from Sam Houston State University. 

Landers has taught in Tennessee, New Mexico, and finally California where he has served as the Director of Bands (and a few years as the Drama teacher) at Templeton High School since 2002. As a professional musician, he has performed with Diane Schuur, The Temptations, Allen Vizzutti, Red Buttons, Pat Sheridan, and Brian Bowman. David currently holds the principal trombone chair with the San Luis Obispo Symphony as well as playing with Orchestra Novo, Symphony of The Vines, and PCPA. You can also find him playing jazz with the Starlight Dream Band the last Saturday of every month at the Madonna Inn. 

Greg Magie (French horn) Greg Magie is music director of Symphony of the Vines, conducts opera productions at California Opera Association, teaches band and choir at Santa Ynez Valley High School, and performs with local orchestras.  He earned performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, University of Redlands, and UCLA. 

When not preparing or performing music, he can be found tending the orchard, gardens, and livestock on the family farm.

Canzona per Sonare No. 4  Giovanni Gabrieli

Centone No. 1, arr. Verne Reynolds
Gloria Deo – Guillaume Dufay
I Love and Have My Love Regarded – Thomas Weelkes
Come Holy Ghost – Christopher Tye
Revecy Venir du Printans – Claude LeJeune

Quintet – Michael Kamen

Suite from the Monteregian Hills – Enrique Crespo
1. La Marche
2. Chanson Melancholique
3. Valse Ridicule
4. Danse Villageosie

White Christmas – Arr. Craig Ware
O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Arr. B. Mason
I Wonder As I Wander  – Arr. Keith Snell
Go Tell It On The Mountain – Arr. Mark Rice
We Three Kings – Arr. Charles Fernandez
He Is Born, The Holy Child – Arr. Ron Goldstein
What Child Is This – Arr. Robert Nagel
The Christmas Song – Arr. Milton Nelson
Silent Night – Arr. B. Mason

Torsten Juul-Borre Piano Recital & Student Spotlight

Saturday, November 16, 1pm | Grace Bible Church, Arroyo Grande

Sunday, November 17, 4pm | Cass Winery, Paso Robles

Sonata in B Flat Major – Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Les Jeux d’eaux a La Villa d’Este –  Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
Jeux d’Eau – Maurice Ravel  (1875 – 1937)

Sponsored by Aurelia Wick – Thank You!

Torsten Juul-Borre returns to entertain us with his humorous and insightful commentary and brilliant performances on the piano. Torsten’s program will feed the hearts of people yearning for love, peace and joy as his program focuses on how music evinces these feelings. Schubert’s sublime melodies and harmonic modulations in the Sonata in B Flat major, Liszt’s meditative messaging in Les Jeux d’eaux a la Villa d’Este, and Ravel’s exuberance in Jeux D’eau carry us on a journey, and leave us, yes, with a sense of touching lasting values.

We are also delighted to feature Albert Zhang, 10 years old and a student in Atascadero. Albert has been chosen to participate in our Student Spotlight program and will have a solo performance during the concert. We are certain you will enjoy this young man’s talent!

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Romantic Cello

Saturday, October 19, 1pm | Trinity United Methodist Church, Los Osos

Sunday, October 20, 4pm | Atascadero Community Church

Hilary Clark – cello, Dmitriy Cogan – piano.

Evalynn Moylan, 17, Morro Bay High School, will be the Student Spotlight. Please click “read more” below.

Sponsored by Toews Law Group, San Luis ObispoThank You!

Cello Sonata  – Sergei Rachmaninoff
Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102  –  Robert Schumann
Twelve Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen,” Op. 66 –  Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony of the Vines is expanding our reach this 10th Anniversary Season with performances throughout San Luis Obispo County.  We welcome back the popular duo of Hilary Clark and Dmitriy Cogan for their third recital on the Off-the-Vines Series, performing some of the great Romantic literature for cello and piano.

On the program are Beethoven’s sprightly Variations on a theme from Mozart’s popular opera The Magic Flute, Robert Schumann’s whimsical Five Pieces in Folk Style, and the poignant Cello Sonata by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

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We are pleased to announce that Evalynn Moylan will be the featured Student Spotlight during our Romantic Cello concerts. Evalynn is from Los Osos and a senior at Morro Bay High School.

Her cello teacher, Lynne Oliverius, says that she has been studying cello for about three years and is extremely devoted.  Evalynn is also an accomplished pianist and saxophone player! She has top grades and plays on the water polo team at Morro Bay High School.

Not sure how she finds the time, but Evalynn also raises 4H show chickens, is a certified scuba diver and a very good water color artist who loves to paint birds and fish!

Piano Quartet ~ September 15, 4pm

Cambria Presbyterian Church

Maurice Sklar – violin, Mike Whitson – viola, Hilary Clark – cello, Robert Cassidy – piano.

Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25 | Johannes Brahms
Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47 | Robert Schumann
Piano Quartet in A Minor | Gustav Mahler

We begin our 10th Anniversary Season in the cool air of Cambria with Piano Quartets by German Romantic composers. The piano quartet is a great vehicle for chamber music, combining the warmth and richness of strings with the clarity of the piano.


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The program features two piano quartets by men who had a great influence on each other, and a shared love of one woman. These composers are Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Schumann, the elder statesman of the new German Romantic style, was also the editor of the New Music Journal, in which he praised Brahms as the next Beethoven, the next great German composer. This put a great deal of pressure on the 20-year-old Brahms. Schumann’s wife, Clara Wieck, was a leading concert pianist, composer, and critic. She encouraged and helped Brahms with his compositions. He, in turn, became confused with feelings of love for her, and guilt that is mentor, Schumann, was her husband. Even after Schumann’s early death, the two continued the relationship, but Clara never allowed it to go beyond a professional one.

On the program is Schumann’s impassioned quartet in E-flat, and Brahms’ fiery early opus in G minor. Also on the program is a one-movement work by Gustav Mahler, the Late Romantic composer of massive symphonies and writer of songs. This is the only instrumental chamber work that survives.

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