Professor Georgette Popa

professor georgette popa

Professor Georgette Popa, the Founder, Conductor, and Artistic Director of the Irvine Classical Players, currently holds the chair of the strings department at Opus 119, the School of Music, CA. Former Professor of Violin at the Superior Conservatory of Music in Lyon, France, she has maintained a private violin studio in Irvine, CA since 1985. She has taught violin for the University of California Irvine, Concordia University Irvine, Saddleback College, and California State University Fullerton. Her teaching career includes numerous requests for international Master Classes in France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and Costa Rica. In addition to her teaching credits, she has performed extensively throughout Europe and the United States. Her active performance career includes numerous studio recordings for film and television. She holds a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the Conservatory of Music G. Dima in Cluj- Napoca, Romania, and completed a three years PhD program at the Conservatory of Music in Paris, France.

Maestro Jorge Luis Uzcátegui

WINNER of orchestra conductor competition - Jorge Luis Uzcategui

Winner of the First Prize at the International Competition for Orchestra Conductors “Debut Hamburg 2017” in Germany. We so proud of our maestro conductor Jorge Luis Uzcategui for exceptional guidance with Irvine Classical Players & Seraphim Symphony.

Since his solo piano debut with the Simón Bolívar Symphony at age 14, Jorge Luis Uzcátegui has performed concerts in North, Central, South America, and Europe with the Valencia Symphony, where his concerts at the “Palau de la Música” have been broadcasted live on Spanish National Television and Radio. He has performed in festivals with artists such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Gabriela Montero, and Chick Corea. His interpretation of Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition can be heard as soundtrack in El Cerrito, an award-winning documentary for the History Channel.

Uzcátegui has conducted musicians from orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony, Los Ángeles Philharmonic. In 2012, Uzcátegui was awarded First Prize at the International Conducting Competition organized by the Paraná Symphony, obtaining the unanimous vote from the jury and all orchestra members. 2014-2015 Uzcátegui engagements includes invitations to conduct in United States, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, and Venezuela, where he will conduct the Simón Bolívar Symphony.

Uzcátegui’s teachers and mentors include Gustavo Dudamel, Neal Stulberg, Donald Neuen, Donald Portnoy, Daisuke Soga, Osvaldo Ferreira, Manuel Galduf, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Gianluigi Gelmetti, and Kurt Masur, as well as pianists Alejandro Slobodianik, Jekaterina Kargina, Marina Lomazov, Adriana Moraga, Benedetto Lupo, Ralph Votapek, Georges Pludermacher, Angela Hewitt, and György Sandor.

In 2014, Uzcátegui will receive his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of California Los Angeles.

Uzcátegui, principal conductor of the Seraphim Symphony will lead our young performers during our 2014 France Concert Tour.

Maestro José Antonio Abreu has said of Uzcátegui, “The young Venezuelan conductor Jorge Luis Uzcátegui is, in my opinion, one of the most outstanding figures of the young musical generation in our country.”

For his merits as an artist, Uzcátegui was bestowed with the José Felix Ribas Order.

Maestro Yorgos Kouritas

yorgos kouritas

Yorgos Kouritas, Director of Instrumental Studies

“Yorgos Kouritas…led a well-shaped and sprightly performance of the Ravel “Mother Goose(link is external)” 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.