Instrumental Music


Orchestra conductorWelcome to Saddleback College Instrumental Music Program! My name is Yorgos Kouritas and I am the Director of Instrumental Studies.

As the Director of Instrumental Studies at Saddleback College, I conduct the Symphony Orchestra (every Thursday from 7-10), the Wind Ensemble (every Tuesday from 7-10), teach lessons in violin and viola (flexible to suit the student's schedule), chamber music (every Friday morning), and other classes.

I wanted to invite you all to join these classes. They meet once a week, have little homework requirements, and most important: you improve and have fun! It also looks very good in your resume when you apply for jobs.

You can also participate in masterclasses with famous 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), and Lina Bahn (USC).

All our students have commented that while many other classes can be very demanding and stressful, the music classes are fun and rewarding!

If you play a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument - it doesn't matter how advanced or not you are. We accommodate everybody and make sure they have a fantastic experience in performing!

High School Students

In case you are a high school student, we do accept high school students in our classes (there is no fees, it is free!!) For a high school student, having already completed a college class is a major advantage when submitting college applications.

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 last year's 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
Director of 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

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Wind Ensemble Concert

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 7:30pm

McKinney Theatre

$15 General; $10 Student/Senior (presale only); Child 17 & Under FREE

The Saddleback College Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Maestro Yorgos Kouritas, presents a full spectrum of wind ensemble music.

Maestro Georgios Kouritas conducts the Saddleback Wind Ensemble.

Concerto Gala - Catch A Rising Star

Saturday, March 17, 2018 - 7:30pm

McKinney Theatre

$15 General; $10 Student/Senior (presale only); Child 17 & Under FREE

Enjoy an evening of classical delights with the Saddleback Symphony Orchestra and winners of the 2018 MTAC Concerto Competition.

A cellist performs during a Saddleback Symphony performance.

Master Class with Josh Ranz (Clarinet)

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 3:00pm

Fine Arts 103

FREE Admission

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.

Josh Ranz performs on a clarinet


Wind Ensemble

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 7:30pm

McKinney Theatre

$15 General; $10 Student/Senior (presale only); Child 17 & Under FREE

Directed by Maestro Yorgos Kouritas, the Saddleback College Wind Ensemble will present this delightful concert featuring a full spectrum of Wind Ensemble music.


Students perform in a wind ensemble concert


Mozart Requiem (formerly listed as Saddleback Symphony Orchestra)

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 7:30pm

McKinney Theatre

$15 General; $10 Student/Senior (presale only); Child 17 & Under FREE

Under the direction of conductor Yorgos Kouritas and chorus director Scott Farthing, the Saddleback College Symphony Orchestra and the 100 voices of the Saddleback Choral Program join forces to present a performance of the magnificent Requiem by W. A. Mozart.

Maestro Georgios Kouritas conducts the Saddleback Symphony Orchestra



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...

More about Yorgos Kouritas


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.

More About Doug Basye



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 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.

More About Stephanie Stetson


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.

More about John Noreyko


Mindy Ball, Harp Instructor.

Mindy 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".

More about Randy Pile



Saddleback College has a long tradition of choral excellence in Orange County. Currently there are two primary choral performance ensembles on campus.
The Saddleback College Community Chorale is made up of a diverse range of experienced singers from all walks of life. With the importance of intergenerational relationship at its core, the Community Chorale fosters musical experiences where education and choral performance intersect. The Community Chorale is offered through the College Emeritus Institute and encourages members of the community to become an active part of this ensemble. The group is made up of retirees, young professionals, families, hobbyists, music majors, housewives and househusbands. They all come together for the beautiful connection of singing in a wonderful ensemble.
Saddleback College Community Chorale
The Saddleback College Community Chorale meets throughout the semester on Tuesday evenings from 6pm-10pm in FA101. The ensemble is directed by Dr. Scott Farthing and accompanied by long time Saddleback faculty, Pennie Foster.

The Saddleback College Chamber Singers is primarily made up of music major and minors who are interested in a high level of performance and rehearsal technique appropriate for voice majors. The Chamber Singers is a highly select group of students who are dedicated to making excellent choral music.
Saddleback College Chamber Singers
The Saddleback College Chamber Singers meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30PM-1:45PM in FA101. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Farthing and accompanied by staff pianist, Catherine Tibbitts.
Recent Repertoire Includes
O Magnum Mysterium                       Morten Lauridsen               Combined Choirs
Ave Maria                                           Norman Weston                  Chamber Singers
Gloria from Bminor Mass                  J. S. Bach                             Community Chorale
Domine ad adjuvandum                      G.B. Martini                        Chamber Singers
Refuge                                                 Scott Farthing                      Chamber Singers
Only in Sleep                                       Eriks Esenvalds                  Chamber Singers
Symphony of Psalms                          Igor Stravinsky                    Combined Choirs
Requiem                                              John Rutter                          Combined Choirs
Dido and Aeneas                                 Henry Purcell                       Chamber Singers
Mass in G                                            Franz Schubert                     Community Chorale
Song of Democracy                             Howard Hanson                  Community Chorale
Testament of Freedom                         Randall Thompson               Combined Choirs
The Armed Man                                   Karl Jenkins                          Combined Choirs
Carmina Burana                                   Karl Orff                                Combined Choirs
German Requiem                                 Johannes Brahms                Combined Choirs
Requiem                                               Giuseppi Verdi                     Combined Choirs
Phantom of the Opera                          Andrew Lloyd Weber         Community Chorale
Applied Program (Voice)
The Applied Voice Program at Saddleback College is one of the most competitive classes on campus. Through a highly selective audition process, students are selected on an extremely high level of musicianship and potential for success as a vocal major. While the program is taught with a strong foundation in classical vocal technique, it is also understood that not every singer is going to be specialize in classical voice.  The philosophy holds the belief that solid vocal technique transcends through whatever style the individual wants to create.
Applied voice lessons provide the student with individual lessons with Dr. Farthing as well as individual coaching with Catherine Tibbitts. This program is necessary for any singer wanting to major in voice. In order to be in the Applied Voice Program, the student must be a music major or minor, be enrolled in the musicianship/harmony sequence, and be enrolled in a choral ensemble.
Auditions are generally on the first Thursday of each semester. Students are expected to bring a classical or musical theatre piece to the audition with a complete piano accompaniment for our staff pianist.
 Opera 101
Voice majors have a unique opportunity to participate in Saddleback College’s Opera 101 program.
Each year, students will present a minimally staged opera in FA101 that allows the singers to have experience in singing roles from smaller operas with piano accompaniment. Having this practical performing experience is extremely beneficial when students transfer to universities and conservatory programs.
Past programs include:
Love, Italian Style (a collection of Italian arias about love)
Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell
Gallantry, A Soap Opera, Douglas Moore
The Elixir of Love, Donizetti
Phantom of the Opera, Lloyd Webber
Sailing the High C’s, Opera Choruses and Arias
Mitridate, Mozart
The Old Maid and the Thief, Menotti
The Goose Girl, Pasatieri
The Telephone, Menotti
The Medium, Menotti

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.

Auditions for the Applied Program are held on the first Thursday of each semester between Noon and 2 pm in room FA 101. Prepare a program of between five and ten minutes duration, preferably memorized and featuring contrasting styles, to showcase your abilities.