Do-it-all percussionist Sean Ritenauer has performed on Broadway, for film and television, as a concerto soloist, and with the world’s most prominent symphony orchestras. Equally conversant in classical, contemporary, Latin, and popular music styles, the Ohio native’s multi-genre fluency has led to his similarly disparate career. Particular highlights include performing with the New York Philharmonic for Alan Gilbert’s final performance, joining contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound in Steve Reich’s 80th Birthday concert, touring with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and perhaps most fondly, playing congas alongside Aretha Franklin.
In particular, Sean has become one of the industry’s most sought after commercial musicians, performing in award-winning television and film soundtracks like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, A Dog’s Purpose, Zoolander 2, and Moonrise Kingdom. He made his Broadway debut on the 18-month national tour of Hair, followed by joining the rosters of Something Rotten! and Pippin. As a substitute, he has performed in Frozen, In The Heights, Miss Saigon, Beetlejuice, and many others.
Ritenauer holds a deep affinity for classical repertoire, proudly serving as Principal Percussionist of the Huntsville Symphony (AL) since 2016. Often invited as a guest musician, he performs regularly within the National Symphony Orchestra (D.C.), Malaysia Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic, whom he accompanied on tours of Europe (2017), Asia (2018), and residencies in Vail and Shanghai. His career has also included select performances with both the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony.
With Huntsville, he has often taken the stage as concerto soloist, including the second-ever performance of Andy Akiho’s Percussion Concerto in January 2020. The Akiho marked Ritenauer’s third solo appearance with the orchestra, joining performances of Gregory Vajda's Drums, Drums, Drums and Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto. Reviewing his interpretation of the Higdon, The Huntsville Times praised Ritenauer for “mesmerizing dexterity”, and recounted “an immediate standing ovation” from the audience.
Sean also places a premium on excellence as an educator. As a private teacher, his Manhattan-based studio features alumni admitted to the country’s top music programs, including Juilliard, Eastman, and the New England Conservatory. He is currently serving as a percussion instructor at Hofstra University where he directs the Hofstra Percussion Ensemble.
A proud graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Ritenauer holds degrees in Classical Percussion (B.M.) and Orchestral Performance (M.M.) from the Manhattan School of Music.
He resides in New York City with his girlfriend, the oboist Hsuan-Fong Chen. They share a home with their cockapoo, Hiro