David Skulski

Murray David Skulski, oboist, English horn player, early music specialist, teacher (born 29 November 1942 in Moose Jaw, SK). David Skulski began performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1960 at the age of 17. He began playing with the Vancouver Folk Orchestra in 1991 and was its conductor from 1997 to 2004. He has since been principal oboe for several orchestras. He also founded Hortulani Musicae in 1968 and the Vancouver Society for Early Music in 1970. He has been president of the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture and serves on the board of the Vancouver Chamber Music Society.

David Skulski


After early training in New Westminster and Burnaby, BC, and experience with the Vancouver Junior Symphony Orchestra, Skulski studied at San Fernando Valley State College in California, and at the University of British Columbia.

Performance Career

In 1960, at 17, Skulski joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as solo English horn, the youngest person ever to be so employed by the VSO. He became a freelance oboist in 1963, performing for the CBC and with a number of Vancouver chamber ensembles. He played 1966–68 in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, Mexico.

After leaving music temporarily in the 1980s, Skulski returned in 1991 to play with the Vancouver Folk Orchestra and was its conductor from 1997 to 2004. In 2005, he joined the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra and the Burnaby Symphony Orchestra as principal oboist. From 2009 to 2019, he was principal oboe for the Pilgrim Orchestra under Pilwon Suk. Skulski is also a member of the wind quintet Five on Sunday.

Career as Administrator

Skulski founded Hortulani Musicae in Vancouver in 1968 and was a performing member until 1976. He founded the Vancouver Society for Early Music in 1970 and managed it until 1975. He became the founder-manager of the Towne Waytes in 1974 and has helped to establish other early-music ensembles. In 1983, he founded Harmonie, an ensemble that concentrated on classical wind music, performing the Canadian premiere of the recently discovered Harmoniemusik arrangement (1812) of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

In 2003, Skulski was elected president of the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture. In this position, he organized the concert series “Music at the Peretz Centre,” featuring Jewish music and musicians; a new concert series called the Sarkin Series (named after a Peretz Centre founder; and the annual “¡Festival Judío!” celebrating Latin-American Jewish culture, which proved to be the centre’s most successful even in 40 years.

As of June 2022, Skulski was serving on the board of the Vancouver Chamber Music Society.

Teaching Career

Skulski taught summer courses in Renaissance music in Breiteneich, Austria, 1972–79, and was music resident at Simon Fraser University 1973–76. He also lectured on the history of musical instruments at both SFU and UBC. In 2008, he began teaching at the Pacific Coast School of Music, the Richmond School of Music and Oakridge Music Studios.

(See also Period Instrument Movement; Jewish Music and Musicians.)

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