Yorgos Kouritas, Director of Instrumental Studies
“Yorgos Kouritas…led a well-shaped and sprightly performance of the Ravel "Mother Goose" Suite.” - Washington Post
“Next on tap was the most somber piece of the evening, Samuel Barber’s well-known “Adagio for Strings.” Performed, of course, by the string section (contrasting with the previous piece which didn’t use them), it was ably and sensitively conducted by Yorgos Kouritas who brought out the essential tragedy of this piece without waxing maudlin as is sometimes the case in other performances.
In many respects, this was the evening’s toughest assignment. The “Adagio” is a wonderfully moving piece that’s been used at funerals and in films to the point where it risks becoming a cliché. But under Mr. Kouritas’ baton, it became a somber elegy for Everyman, with every delicate nuance performed by the orchestra with sensitivity and, paradoxically, great passion when required, particularly in the soaring high notes that occur just prior to the “Adagio’s” fade-away conclusion.” - Washington Times
Prize winner for the prestigious American Prize in Conducting in 2012, Yorgos Kouritas is quickly gaining recognition as a dynamic and energetic conductor. In December 2012, Mr. Kouritas was a participant in the Virginia Symphony Conducting Workshop. Chosen among dozens of applicants, he worked with internationally known conductors JoAnn Falletta and Jorge Mester. At the end of the workshop, he was selected by the faculty as the Outstanding Participant in the Workshop. That selection made him eligible to be a finalist for the 2013 Thelma A. Robinson Scholarship/Award in Conducting.
He is the appointed conductor of the Saddleback College Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. In May 2014 he finished a very successful tenure (three years) serving as the Assistant Conductor of the Boise Philharmonic and as the Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In March 2012, he made his debut with the Boise Philharmonic and it was enthusiastically received. While he was the Assistant Conductor of the Symphony Orchestras at Eastman School of Music, he also held the position of Music Director and Conductor of the New Horizons Orchestra and Associate Conductor with the Brighton Symphony. He previously had the position of Cincinnati Symphony Conducting Assistant during the year 2006-07. During this time, he assisted Paavo Jarvi and all the guest conductors of the symphony. He also worked with James Conlon for the duration of the May festival of the Cincinnati Symphony. At the same time, he worked with Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra conducting them in rehearsals and concerts. Before joining CSO, he held the position of Assistant and Cover Conductor for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, which included a production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte.
In the summer of 2010, he was chosen by Lorin Maazel to work with him as a conducting fellow for five weeks at the Castleton festival and he received great reviews by the Washington Times and the Washington Post. He has been selected twice by Kurt Masur as an active participant for the annual master class with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony (April 2009 and November 2010) and was chosen by the Maestro to conduct at the final concert. In May and June 2009, he did an internship with the New York Philharmonic’s Education Department and during his time there he also worked for the Development Department.
Mr. Kouritas has conducted various orchestras in concerts and workshops including Baltimore Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Symphony, Castleton Festival Orchestra, Lucca Festival Orchestra, Ithaca College Symphony, Fingerlakes Symphony, Ossia Ensemble, Rochester Composer’s Sinfonietta and others. He has been the conductor of East Central Indiana Youth Orchestra and at the same time the Ball State Chamber Opera. In Europe, he has had many guest conducting opportunities, including the Pleven, Plovdiv and Bacau Philharmonics.
Born in Greece, he had violin lessons from an early age and went to study with the Russian pedagogue Rimma Sushanskaya in Birmingham Conservatoire, England. He has also studied the violin with Sherry Kloss, Piotr Milewski, Lynn Blakeslee and James Buswell. At the age of 13, he became the youngest member of the Edinburgh International Youth Orchestra. He has served as concertmaster and member of many orchestras in the US and Europe. He received his Master’s in conducting at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Mark Gibson. He then went at Eastman School of Music for his Doctorate in Conducting and studied with Neal Varon. During his time in Cincinnati, he was the Director of the highly-praised production of Stravinsky’s Firebird (1945 version) collaborating with the school ballet.
He has participated in master classes with some of the most well-known conductors and teachers including Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, JoAnn Falletta, Gerard Schwarz, Carl St. Clair, Alexander Mickelthwate, Gustav Meier, Jorge Mester, Markand Thakar, Alexis Hauser, Larry Livingston, Victor Yampolsky, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School.
László Mező, Cello Instructor
Born in Budapest, Hungary, László Mező gained national recognition as one of the top musicians of his generation when he won First Prize in the "Kertész Ottó Memorial Competition" at the young age of 18. Since then, he has won numerous other competitions including the Fourth Prize in the "Antonio Janigro Junior International Competition" in 1998, Second Prize in the "International Dávid Popper Competition for Young Cellists" in 2000, the Special Prize in the "International Dávid Popper Cello Competition" in 2004, and First Prize in the "Ima Hogg International Competition" in 2008.
László Mező has forged a career as a soloist, recitalist, master teacher, chamber musician and conductor. He has performed extensively in Europe, Asia and North and South America. Always eager to pass on his knowledge, László has conducted master classes in Japan, Switzerland and Hungary. He was Assistant Teacher at the University of Southern California between 2007 and 2008.
Maestro László Mező is also an experienced conductor. Since 1997, he has conducted orchestras in Hungary, Switzerland, and Japan, including the Budapest: Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Orchestra, the Kodaly Orchestra, the Goppisberger Festival Orchestra, and the Hirosaki University Orchestra.
László Mező holds master degrees from the Liszt Ferenc University of Music in Budapest and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. He graduated from the class of Ralph Kirshbaum at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
His CD recording of David Popper's works, on the Hungarotron label, includes several first time ever recordings of the master's cello works. You can find more information on my website,
Doug Basye, Bass Instructor
Doug Basye joined the Pacific Symphony in 1994 as Assistant Principal. He also plays in the San Diego Symphony. Previously he played in San Diego Opera, Grant Park Symphony in Chicago and the Pittsburgh Symphony on their west coast tour. Basye has also taught in Pacific Symphony's Class Act program as a presenter.
Doug completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Indiana University where he studied bass performance and violin building and repair. The program included building a violin in the second year. He joined the Pacific Symphony in 1994 after completing his Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied with Jeff Turner, Principal Bass of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Before graduate school, Doug played professionally in the Colorado Symphony and Orquestra Sinfonica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Additionally, he has played summer festivals including the Solti Project, the Colorado Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, as well as two fellowship invitations to the Aspen Music Festival.
Doug lives in Mission Viejo with his wife Hong, a professional harpist, and their son Aaron.
Cynthia Bueker Ellis, Flute Instructor
Flutist Cynthia Bueker Ellis is a member of the Pacific Symphony, playing solo piccolo since 1979. Her performance credits also includeLos Angeles Music Center Opera, Pasadena Chamber Orchestra and the Cabrillo Music Festival in Santa Cruz, California. She has alsoserved as the principal flutist for touring ballet companies on their Orange County stops including the Royal Ballet of London, AmericanBallet Theater, Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet. In January of 1995, she was appointed Principal Flutistwith the Opera Pacific Orchestra, a position she held until the company's closing in 2009. She has recorded with the Hollywood BowlOrchestra, the Pacific Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as well as on several major motion picture and cartoonsoundtracks.
Ms. Ellis received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with Honors from California State University, Fullerton, and waschosen as Music Associates Outstanding Student of the Year upon completion of her work in 1983. Her many scholastic honors includemembership to the honor societies of Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Kappa Phi, and membership and listing in Outstanding Young Womenof America for 1983. She was named as one of O.C. Metro Magazine's "Ten Women Making a Difference" in March 2002 for her workin the field of music education. She has been published in Flute Talk magazine, a international educational journal, and was appointededitor of the "Let's Talk Picc" column in May 2003. She won the John and Mary Virginia Foncannon Chamber Music Scholarship fromthe Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation in 2007, as well as the Pacific Symphony Chairman of the Board "Orchestra Hero" award.
Chamber music credits include performances in the Pacific Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Concerts and American ComposersFestival Chamber Music Concerts, the Corona del Mar Baroque Festival, the Sonora Bach Festival, Fullerton Friends of Music Seriesand live broadcasts on KUSC's Sundays Live! Concert Series. In March 2000, her chamber trio, Les Amis Muscalles, won first placein the National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition. The group has performed at NFA annual conventions in Columbus, Ohio,Dallas, Texas, and San Diego, California. The trio commissioned several composers for new works, among them, Arni Egilsson, BruceBroughten, and James Hopkins and released their first CD, "Beyond Beethoven" on the Centaur Label in February 2006. She currentlyperforms as a member of the flute and harp duo Arioso, with Michelle Temple.
Music education is an important facet of Cindy's career. She served as instructor of flute at California State University at Fullerton,where she held a lectureship position and coached chamber music from 1985 to 2011. In October 2003, Ms. Ellis performed the worldpremiere of Stephen Maphar's Sonata for Flute, Wind Ensemble and Women's Choir, "The Celestial", at CSUF. In addition, Cindy isan instructor for Pacific Symphony's nationally recognized "Class Act" education and outreach program. She is a member of the MusicTeachers Association of California, Mu Phi Epsilon, and the National Flute Association Pedagogy Committee. She was the ProgramChair for the NFA's annual convention held in Anaheim, CA, in 2010. In 2011, she was named Music Director of the Laguna Flutes,a 25 member flute ensemble which concertizes throughout Orange County. Cindy is currently on faculty at Hope InternationalUniversity and is looking forward to a summer residency at the International Piccolo Symposium in Omaha, Nebraska.
Jessica Pearlman, Oboe Instructor
Jessica Pearlman currently holds the position of principal oboe of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Pearlman moved to Southern California after completing her Master of Music degree in 2009 at The Juilliard School as a student of Elaine Douvas, Nathan Hughes and Pedro Diaz, all of the Metropolitan Opera. While in New York, she performed and toured with some of the city's most esteemed ensembles, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera. She was a member of the Verbier (Switzerland) Festival Orchestra from 2007-2009, participating in two international tours led by Charles Dutoit and Ludovic Morlot and working in the summer under such conductors as Valery Gergiev and Kurt Masur. As a soloist Ms. Pearlman was featured with the San Jose Chamber Symphony, a performance MetroActive described as "extraordinary… [she] dazzled through the overlapping melodies and 32nd-note runs of a bravura show-off piece by Antonino Pasculli…[a] barrage of acclamation followed her tour de force…" Other solo appearances include the Mozart oboe concerto with the Pacific Chamber Symphony and Colorado College Summer Music Festival and the Bach Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin with the Mansfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra where she also served as principal oboe during the 2005-2006 season. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Pearlman has performed with Orli Shaham on the Pacific Symphony Orchestra’s prestigious Café Ludwig Chamber Music Series and tours regularly with her innovative New York-based chamber group “Shuffle Concert.”
Ms. Pearlman hails from Half Moon Bay, CA where she studied oboe and violin and performed in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and with her local community orchestra. Her continued study of music and science brought her to Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she earned a B.M. under the tutelage of the late James Caldwell as well as a B.A. in neuroscience, as a pre-med student. Her summer research in brain tumor models conducted at Johns Hopkins University was presented at the 2006 conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Among Pearlman's other talents, she is a dedicated and passionate teacher. She served as a secondary oboe teacher to undergraduate students while at Oberlin College and Yale University (where she spent the first year of graduate school), and in 2006 served as woodwind professor for the Associaciòn Nacional de Conciertos youth music festival in Panamà. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Long Beach City College in addition to maintaining a large private teaching studio. Equally adept at the English horn, Ms. Pearlman has been an audition finalist for English horn positions of many of the nation’s finest orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Houston Symphony and San Diego Symphony. She currently resides in Long Beach, California with her rescue dog, Nadia. Please visit Ms. Pearlman online at www.jessicapearlman.com
Benjamin Lulich, Principal Clarinet
Benjamin Lulich was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Pacific Symphony in 2007. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Colorado Music Festival, Festival Mozaic, and serves as Principal Clarinet for the Sunriver Music Festival. He has performed for record albums and film scores, including Water for Elephants, The Tourist, Life of Pi, and Monsters University. Mr. Lulich studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Yale School of Music and his teachers include Richard Hawkins, Franklin Cohen, David Shifrin, Fred Ormand, and Laura Deluca. He has also appeared as soloist at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Interlochen Arts Academy, Battle Creek Symphony, Central Oregon Symphony, and on several occasions with the Pacific Symphony and Sunriver Music Festival. He attended the National Orchestral Institute, Pacific Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, and was a three-time fellow at the Music Academy of the West, where he won the concerto competition twice.
Stephanie Stetson, Horn Instructor
Stephanie Stetson received her Bachelor's Degree in Horn Performance from the University of Southern California. While there she had the privilege of studying with Jim Decker and Vincent DeRosa. She has been a free-lance musician in Los Angeles ever since. Stephanie regularly performs with the Pacific Symphony, LA Opera Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony and the Long Beach Municipal Band. She has performed in numerous Broadway shows at the Schubert, Ahmanson and Pantages Theatres such as: Wicked, Lion King, The Producers, Phantom of the Opera etc… She also has extensive studio recording experience in TV, radio, audio recordings and motion picture soundtracks.
Stephanie has been teaching at Azusa Pacific University since 2004 where she has taught Applied Horn, Horn Master Class, Horn Literature and Horn Pedagogy. She is a member of the APU Faculty WW Quintet. Since the beginning of 2010 she has also been teaching applied horn at Citrus College. Stephanie is married with 4 children. She loves her family very much and enjoys the blessings of a good family and good music every day of her life.
Tim Hall, Trumpet Instructor
Tim Hall was born and raised in Southern California. His principal teacher was famed Hollywood studio musician Uan Rasey. Tim is a freelance musician in the Southern California area and performs regularly in a variety of ensembles including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, L.A. Opera, Orange County's Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific, California Philharmonic, Long Beach Opera, Pasadena Symphony, Long Beach Municipal Band, Disneyland Band, Segerstrom Center for the Arts broadway shows and the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters Orchestra. He has toured the United States, Europe and Asia with various groups and lived in Japan for five years while performing at the Huis Ten Bosch resort.
In addition to his busy performing schedule, Tim enjoys teaching very much. He owns a teaching studio in Laguna Niguel called The Music Stand. He is also on Faculty at Chapman University Conservatory of Music and Irvine Valley College. Tim lives in Mission Viejo California with his wife and three (trumpet playing) sons.
Michael Hoffman, Trombone Instructor
Michael Hoffman is an Associate Professor of Music at Cal State Fullerton and Irvine Valley College. He is an educator for Pacific Symphony’s nationally recognized Class Act Program, clinician and adjudicator for multiple organizations, band director for Pacific Symphony/Freedman Foundation Education Outreach Program and a member of several performing education outreach ensembles. His ensemble activity includes: principal trombone, Pacific Symphony (1997 to present); acting principal trombone, San Diego Symphony (1998-2006); on call, Los Angeles Philharmonic (1997-Present), on call, principal trombone with Los Angeles Music Center Opera and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1993-Present); on call principal trombone Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1996-Present); principal trombone, Peter Britt Festival (1993-96); principal trombone, Denver Chamber Orchestra (1983-89); principal trombone, Central City Opera (1983-89); second trombone, Colorado Ballet (1984-89); first, second and bass trombone, Denver Center Theater (1984-89); on call, Denver Symphony Orchestra (1980-89); principal and second trombone, Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra (1982); multiple film scores, soundtracks and commercials. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Trombone Performance at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.
When you think of jazz, the tuba doesn’t usually come to mind. However, for the last 30 years, it’s been on John Noreyko’s mind. During this time, John has honed his skills, not only as a jazz artist, but also as a studio musician. Mr. Noreyko has performed and/or recorded with Sigur Ros, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Fiona Apple and Dwight Yoakum, to name a few. For the last 26 years, he has played in the house jazz band at Disneyland. He is also a founding member of the Side Street Strutters Jazz Band, a 7-piece group that enjoys performing concerts and symphony Pops engagements throughout the world. Last year, he was a Jazz adjudicator for the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Association’s Roger Bobo Awards.
“My career has been centered on advancing the tuba in all forms of music, especially jazz,” states Noreyko. His latest project, TUBOP, a neo-bop ensemble, pushes the limits of what is possible. His recordings are available at www.fivesonic.com.
Paul Johnson, Percussion Instructor
Paul Johnson received his musical training at Interlochen Arts Academy and Arizona State University. He studied with Jerry McKenzie of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Norman Fickett of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Mark Sunkett, Ralph Humphries of the Frank Zappa Band, and the illustrious Jeff Hamilton.
Paul’s early professional career included international tours with The Four Freshmen, The Ink Spots, The Four Lads, The Pied Pipers, Donald O’Connor, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore, and The Lettermen. He has performed with the touring Broadway shows, ”Annie” and “Godspell”. He has backed up such stars as Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester, Mel Torme, Pat Boone, Vikki Carr, and Ella Fitzgerald. Paul also spent time touring with the legendary Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd performing with Al Cohn, Clark Terry, and the great Joe Williams at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Johnson is the recipient of two consecutive grants from Arts International to perform at jazz festivals throughout Europe. He also received a touring grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to perform historical transcriptions of Jelly Roll Morton and Jack Teagarden throughout North America and Europe. Paul also fronts a jazz quintet with some of L.A.’s finest players appearing in local venues.
As a current member of the award-winning Side Street Strutters Jazz Band, Paul appears regularly with symphony orchestras including: the Houston Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Wichita Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Orlando Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the York Symphony Orchestra, the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, and the Long Beach Pops Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Johnson has given command performances for the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland in Bern, and for President Ronald Reagan at the White House, Washington, D.C.
In addition to his busy private teaching schedule, Paul conducts clinics and master classes for jr. high, high school, and college students across the United States under the auspices of the California Arts Council, Community Concerts Association, and “Live On Stage”. Paul is currently on faculty at Saddleback College school of Fine Arts as percussion and drum set instructor.
Randy Pile, Guitar Instructor
Randy Pile, trained in the Old World tradition of sophisticated elegance, tempered in the New World exploration of flamboyant virtuosity, and distilled through flawless technique, has been placed within a handful of the world's finest performers.
As a touring artist for the California Arts Council, Randy is one of the most sought after performers of his generation, both at home and abroad.
As recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician he has won acclaim for his "rich tone", "powerful technique", "graceful interpretations" and "sensitive musicianship".
His international following has been gained through performances in the USA, Europe, Canada, and the South Pacific with appearances in major music festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Aspen Music Festival, Salzburg Mozart Festival, the Malaga Music Festival, the Northwest Guitar Festival, and New Zealand's Summer Festivals.
A consumate innovator, Randy is celebrating the ten year anniversary of his unique performance style, Story of the Guitar, with a revival of the extremely popular "Music of Two Worlds" program, which can been viewed on the recital page. As an advocate of new music, he has premiered works at New York University, University of California and San Diego's "Sitting on the Floor."
Randy was among a handful of musicians chosen to honor Guitar Greats like Chet Atkins, Charlie Byrd, Doc Watson, and especially Celedonio Romero, in North Carolina. He has shared the stage with the late Maestro Romero, his sons Pepe and Celin. He has performed numerous duos with Pepe throughout the US and Europe as well as joining him and Celin in recording the Concierto Vasco with the Bilbao Symphony for the Philips label.
If I were to let my imagination fun free, I would compose for a phantasmagoric instrument that would combine the soul of the guitar, the shape of the grand piano and the wings of the harp.”
Dr. Pile's academic credentials include degrees in Music from UC Berkeley and UC San Diego. His Ph.D. dissertation was based on a revision of the guitar works of Joaquin Rodrigo, which he undertook while working closely with Maestro Rodrigo at his home in Madrid. The study was sponsored by a grant to promote cultural cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and US Universities, and included special concerts and lectures on the music of Joaquín Rodrigo.
Randy has been the director of two highly successful Guitar Foundation of America International Festivals and Competitions. In 1997 "The European Tradition" honored Celedonio Romero and the 2001 GFA Festival "Voices of the Guitar ~ Ancient and Modern" was held in memory of Maestro Rodrigo.