Yorgos (Georgios) Kouritas, 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 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.
Mr. Kouritas has been selected through hundreds of applicants to be a finalist in major international conducting competitions such as the Dorati in Budapest, Hungary (2015 and 2018), and also the European Union Conducting in Bulgaria (2020).
Dr. Kouritas serves as the conductor of the Saddleback College Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. He also teaches violin, viola, and chamber music among his other duties. 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 Così 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 different contexts 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, Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra, and others. In Europe, he has had many guest conducting opportunities, including the City of Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra in Greece, the Pleven and Plovdiv Philharmonics in Bulgaria, the Bacau Philharmonic in Romania, and the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Hungary. He has also served as a Cover Conductor for the Pacific Symphony.
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 has taught violin and chamber music master classes in UC Irvine, Chapman University, and CSU Long Beach. He has also been invited to clinic the orchestras of La Sierra University (CA), Sonoma State University (CA), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Augustana University (SD), and the California State University Fullerton Wind Ensemble.
He received his Master’s in conducting at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Mark Gibson. He then went to 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.