Dean Witten

Dean Witten's Biography

Dean Witten has been Professor of Percussion and Director of Percussion Studies at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey since 1979.  Mr. Witten has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic, the San Antonio Symphony, the Haddonfield Symphony, and the Relache Ensemble (PA).

Freelancing in New York City, Mr. Witten has been the principal percussionist of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and performs regularly with the American Symphony Orchestra, as well as the American Composers Orchestra, New York Chamber Orchestra, NY Virtuosi, New York Pops, Metropolitan Opera Guild and many Broadway theater orchestras.  As a performer on Baroque timpani, he has recorded the Haydn Creation with the Pro Artis Ensemble, a New York ensemble specializing in the use of period instruments.  Mr. Witten has been a member of the percussion sections of the Rochester Philharmonic, the San Antonio Symphony and the Opera Companies of Philadelphia and Boston.  As a Yamaha clinician, he has been invited to perform at two Percussive Arts Society Conventions.  In 1990, Mr. Witten hosted the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Philadelphia and served four years on the Percussive Arts Society Board of Directors. 

He toured the world as a member of Frank Sinatra's Orchestra for almost eight years and has performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Buddy Rich Band and the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.  He has been heard in the Broadway pit orchestras of Les Misérables, Baz Luhrmann's production of Puccini's La Boheme, Sweet Charity, Sunset Boulevard, Tommy, The Music Man, Oklahoma, Titanic, Jekyll and Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, Cyrano the Musical, The Secret Garden, Dracula the Musical, City of Angels, An Inspector Calls, Blood Brothers and Grand Hotel.  You can hear Mr. Witten on recordings by Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Jr., Harry Connick Jr., Celine Dion, Denis DiBlasio, Betty Buckley, Linda Eder and others, as well as on the movie soundtracks to Femme Fatale, Lucky Numbers, Snake Eyes and The Godfather 3.

As a member of the staff orchestras at Resorts International, Tropicana and Sands Hotel Casinos in Atlantic City, he performed regularly with Peter Allen, Paul Anka, Susan Anton, Frankie Avalon, Burt Bacharach, Charlie Callas, Jose Carreras, Diahann Carroll, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Bill Conti, Vic Damone, Sammy Davis Jr., Dom Deluise, Electric Light Orchestra, Jose Feliciano, Fifth Dimension, Sergio Franchi, Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, Mitzi Gaynor, Frank Gorshin, Robert Goulet, Joel Grey, Joey Heatherton, Clint Holmes, Lena Horne, Englebert Humperdink, Julio Iglesias, Lanie Kazan, Carol Lawrence, Jerry Lewis, Liberace, Hal Linden, Gloria Loring, Patti Lupone, Rich  Little, Melissa Manchester, Dean Martin, Al Martino, Johnny Mathis, Maureen McGovern, Liza Minnelli, Joni Mitchell, Anthony Newley, Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, Patti Page, Billy Preston, Lou Rawls, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Neal Sedaka, Frank Sinatra, Steve and Edye, Keely Smith, Connie Stevens, Leslie Ughamms, Jerry Vale, Ben Vereen, Dionne Warwick, Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra, Paul Williams and Nancy Wilson. 

He can also be heard on nationally broadcast television commercials for Smith Barney, Right Guard, Visa, the U.S. Postal Service and NBC Nightly News.  Mr. Witten performs exclusively on Yamaha Percussion Instruments and Zildjian Cymbals with Mike Balter Mallets and Pro-Mark.

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