Instrumental Music


Orchestra conductor

Welcome to Saddleback College Instrumental Music Program! My name is Yorgos Kouritas!

In the Music Department at Saddleback College, I conduct the Symphony Orchestra (every Thursday from 7-9:50), the Wind Ensemble (every Tuesday from 6-8:50), teach lessons in violin and viola, coach chamber music, and other online and on campus classes.

You can also participate in masterclasses we host at Saddleback College with distinguished professors from other schools. Here are some of the internationally known artists we have hosted: Martin Chalifour (principal Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and professor at USC), Professor William Fitzpatrick (Chapman University), Haroutune Bedelian (UCI), Guillaume Sutre (UCLA), Movses Pogossian (UCLA), Martin Beaver (Colburn Conservatory), Eric Silberger (internationally known soloist), Henry Gronnier (Colburn, CSULB), Lina Bahn (USC), Iryna Krechkovsky (Trio Celeste in Residence at UCI), Moni Simeonov (CSULB), and Dennis Kim (Pacific Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster).

If you play a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument, we make sure everybody has a great performing experience. You are very welcome to join us!

Our students get accepted in some of the best schools in the country. We focus on preparing them for their next step. Student Success is of utmost importance to us.

High School Students

In case you are a high school student, we do accept high school students in our classes (free of charge). A high school student that has already completed a college class has a major advantage when submitting college applications and applying for scholarships and placements.

I would also like to share with you a couple of videos of my past performances here at Saddleback College:
1. An excerpt from one of my violin recitals - Brahms Violin Sonata no.3, 2nd movement:

2. An excerpt from Brahms's Requiem performed by the Saddleback Symphony Orchestra and Choir:

3. These are a few excerpts from a violin-piano recital I performed with Kirill Gliadkovsky (Head of Piano Studies at Saddleback College). These excerpts are from Brahms Violin Sonata no.2 and Beethoven Sonata no.5 (“Spring”).

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at or 949-582-4896

Warmest wishes,

Dr. Yorgos Kouritas
Concert Conductor and Violinist
Instrumental Studies, Associate Professor Music Department – Division of Fine Arts

Yorgos Kouritas conducting symphony

For more information on the Instrumental Music Program at Saddleback College contact Yorgos Kouritas, Phone: (949) 582-4896

YouTube Facebook page for SaddlebackCollegeMusic


Yorgos Kouritas, Director of Instrumental StudiesYorgos Kouritas, Director of Instrumental Studies and Coordinator of the Applied Music program

“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...

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Laszlo MezoLászló 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.

More about László Mező


Doug BasyeDoug 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.

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Cynthia Bueker EllisCynthia Bueker Ellis, Flute Instructor

Flutist Cynthia Bueker Ellis is a member of the Pacific Symphony, playing solo piccolo since 1979. Her performance credits also include Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Pasadena Chamber Orchestra and the Cabrillo Music Festival in Santa Cruz, California. She has also served as the principal flutist for touring ballet companies on their Orange County stops including the Royal Ballet of London, American Ballet Theater, Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet. In January of 1995, she was appointed Principal Flutist with the Opera Pacific Orchestra, a position she held until the company's closing in 2009. She has recorded with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as well as on...

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Jessica PearlmanJessica 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...

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Joshua Ranz, Clarinet InstructorJoshua Ranz, Clarinet Instructor

Hailed in the LA Times as offering a “stunning rendition” of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and an “exciting” version of the Copland Clarinet Concerto, Joshua Ranz is principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He has also served as principal clarinet of the New West Symphony since Sept., 2013 and acting principal clarinet of the Pacific Symphony since June, 2014.

In March, 2016 Josh performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with LACO on basset clarinet and in December 2010, he performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto, also with LACO. On LACO’s 2008 European tour, Josh was featured prominently with mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova...

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Stephanie StetsonStephanie 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.

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Tim HallTim Hall, Trumpet Instructor

Born and raised in Southern California, Tim is a free-lance musician who is both a regular in major local ensembles and a seasoned touring musician.
Equally adept in classical and jazz genres, he can often be heard with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Opera, the Pacific Symphony, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the California Philharmonic, the Long Beach Opera, the Pasadena Symphony, the Long Beach Municipal Band, and the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters Orchestra.
The past year alone has found Tim on stage or in the pit for the Pacific...

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Michael HoffmanMichael 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...

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John NoreykoJohn Noreyko, Tuba Instructor

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.

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Mindy Ball, Harp Instructor.

Mindy Ball, Harp InstructorMindy Ball began playing the harp at 12, studying with Marjorie Call-Salzedo and receiving her degree in harp performance from Chapman University with honors. She also trained with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra under distinguished American conductor Leonard Bernstein. Currently celebrating her 36th year as principal harp with Pacific Symphony, she is also principal harp with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and has held principal positions with Opera Pacific and Pittsburgh Opera under John Mauceri.

Ball performs regularly for major and international touring ballet companies and has recorded for film and television including PBS specials...

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Paul JohnsonPaul 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...

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Randy PileRandy 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".

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Applied Program

One of the most vibrant applied programs offered by any undergraduate music school in the United States, the Applied Program is the Saddleback Music Department's crown jewel. Competitive and comprehensive, the Applied Program enrolls students in a weekly applied lesson, an ensemble class (piano ensemble for pianists), and a weekly concert hour, a performance class required of all music majors, during which students demonstrate their performing abilities before their classmates and the Music Faculty, in a professional concert setting. Most Applied Program students also enroll in classes such as music theory, music history, and choir.

Due to recommendations from the Federal Government and the Centers for Disease Control, candidates for the Applied Music Program should submit an unlisted YouTube link of their audition to It will then be forwarded to all the other faculty. This application must also be attached to the email.

In the video, please introduce yourself, tell us what piece you will be performing, and then perform the piece. The deadline to submit your audition video and application form is midnight on Friday, May 15th.

We will also have live auditions on Thursday August 20th at 2:00 PM in FA 101.

When filling out the application form, please note:

1) Students must have Thursday afternoons free.

2) Friday times: please circle only if there are any class conflicts (work conflicts don't matter).

3) Piano classes are for non piano majors.

If accepted, students will be assigned a private teacher, receive weekly lessons, and attend the weekly performance class that meets on Thursday afternoons.