CSUN Honors String Quartet

String Quartet Group students



The CSUN Honors String Quartet gratefully celebrates the philanthropic support of Gita Kronen. Additional scholarships have been generously provided by the Gintz Family, the CSUN Foundation and the Department of Music.

Benz Marston Duglio is honored to play the exquisite 1928 cello made by Henry Richard Knopf of NYC, donated to the Department of Music by the Kronen family.


2023-2024 CSUN Honors String Quartet Members

Scott Johnson, Violin

A native of Southern California, Scott grew up in Bountiful, Utah, where he began playing the violin at the age of ten. He completed a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance degree at San Diego State University, studying with Pei-Chun Tsai, as well as Isaac Allen and chamber music with the Hausmann Quartet. During this time, he attended a number of master classes taught by Dylana Jenson, student of Nathan Milstein. Upon graduating, he then continued his studies with Michael Tseitlin, working toward greater mastery of the instrument, and soaking in the rich tradition of teaching and playing Mr. Tseitlin provided, passed on from the likes of David Oistrakh and Leopold Auer. Throughout this time, from before music school and beyond, Scott has enjoyed wide ranging performance opportunities, from playing over a thousand shows on an electric-acoustic violin in a rock band, to working as a soloist with choirs, to freelance performances in the San Diego area, including with the San Diego Master Chorale. He has also been a dedicated teacher, enjoying working with many students and helping to guide them in their individual journeys toward mastery of violin playing. Scott is now at CSUN in his second year, pursuing his degree in M.M. violin performance, studying with Lorenz Gamma, where he is soaking in the all that Dr. Gamma has to teach of the Franco Belgian violin playing tradition.

Sahand Zare, Violin

A native of Shiraz, Iran, Sahand picked up violin at seven, having received around two years of Orff music training under Mehrzad Foroozan, a well-known local music coach for kids. As a kid, he was quite a fan of classical music. Living in Shiraz then, he only had a few opportunities to pursue his choice of music. A few years into learning the Violin, he quickly improved his skills using methods such as Suzuki and Le Violin. Pursuing classical music, and with the enormous help of his family, he took lessons from various teachers, mainly those from the capital, Tehran. For years, he received instructions for both Western classical and Traditional Persian Music. Under Reza Eskandari, new doors opened up for Sahand through Iranian traditional music. A skill set of improvisation and ear training were permanent awards from those years. At times, Sahand received lessons from multiple teachers simultaneously, focusing on technique building, traditional music, and classical repertoire. This blend forged his talent and passion for creating his unique music style. At thirteen, Sahand composed his first piece for solo Violin, showcasing it in multiple cities and events. The positive attention and encouragement he received for his composition solidified his belief that music was his true life calling. Over the following years, he continued to compose and perform, driven by his newfound purpose. His path took a significant turn when he encountered Farzad Khavand, a classical music teacher with extensive experience in Western countries. Under Khavand's guidance for about two years, Sahand's commitment to music deepened. At sixteen, he left his home and arrived in the United States at eighteen, determined to pursue music more earnestly. During his College years, he studied with Dr. Leila Nunez-Fredell from 2018 to 2020. Sahand prepared to enter a university to further his musical studies with her guidance. 2020, he started studying under the esteemed Dr. Lorenz Gamma and earned his bachelor's degree in 2022. Sahand considers himself incredibly fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Gamma. He is currently continuing in the second year of his M.M.degree in violin performance

Zachary Cruz, Viola

A native of Santa Monica, California, Zachary began his music studies at 8 years old. Following the choices of his older brother, he began playing the Viola through the music courses offered through his elementary school. Even though his brother stopped playing the Viola, Zachary continued. Playing throughout middle and high school, he rose through the ranks of his high school’s six orchestras under the direction of Joni Swenson and Jason Aiello. In 2016, he began taking private lessons with Violist Virginie d’Avezac. With her, Zachary was able to grow his love of music and he decided to make music his lifelong passion. After graduating from Santa Monica High School, Zachary began pursuing his degree in Viola Performance at Santa Monica College. While at Santa Monica College, he began playing in the Santa Monica College Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Brian Stone as Co-Principal Viola. In the Fall of 2018, Zachary began his studies with Michael McLean of the Colburn School through Santa Monica College's "Applied Music Program". Through Mr. McLean, Zachary found out about the music program at California State University, Northridge which is where he transferred to after SMC in the Fall of 2021. Zachary has now returned to the Santa Monica College Symphony Orchestra as  Principal Viola for its second year after the pandemic, under the direction of Mercedes Juan Musotto.This will be Zachary's second year in the CSUN Honor's Quartet and he is excited to again be able to create music with an amazing group of musicians. Zachary is currently a Senior at CSUN, studying with Dr. Wendy Richman, and is pursuing his Bachelors of Music in Viola Performance.

Benz Marston Duglio, Cello

Benz Marston Duglio. Cello: Born in Lima Peru, Benz moved to the states at the age of eight. Benz was introduced to the cello at age 12 when he was taking private lessons at the Sitar Arts center.  Two years later Benz was given a scholarship to continue pursuing music at The Washington Conservatory in our nation's capital . While in DC, Benz was accepted as a fellow into the National Symphony Orchestra where he studied with David Teie. In 2015 Benz moved to Los Angeles, California to continue with his musical endeavors and make his impact on the thriving metropolis and cultural art-center that we call home. Benz served as the cellist for the CSUN Honors String Quartet (2018-2020)  and principal cello of CSUN symphony under the mentorship of Diane Roscetti. After obtaining his BM degree, Benz has continued to pursue his professional trajectory with private training from LA Phil associate principal cellist, Ben Hong. Benz has performed with accomplished artists like Serj Tankian, Aida Cuevas, Luciana Souza, and La Marisoul. Benz continues to serve as an educator and leader, has served a fellowship for the Sphinx Organization in Detroit, and aims to advocate for diversity in symphony orchestras to bring the joy of classical music and string instruments to underserved minority communities. Benz currently works for LABY Harmony Project of New West Symphony as a site coordinator. Benz holds a Bachelors in Music and teaches in the LA area and is a cellist for California’s Young Artist Symphony. Benz is currently pursuing his M.M. in cello performance, studying with Diane Roscetti.

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