Witten, Dean

Rowan University


"In my long career, I never had to switch mallets because my Mike Balter mallets were always the right sound for the gig!"


Dean Witten has been Professor of Percussion and Director of Percussion Studies at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey since 1979. He has given the world premier performances of more than forty works for percussion. Presently freelancing in New York City, Mr. Witten has been principal percussionist of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, New York Chamber Orchestra, NY Virtuosi, New York Pops, Queens Symphony Orchestra, 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. Dean has been a member of the percussion sections of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, 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, Dean 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 Porgy and Bess, Les Miserables, Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme, A Catered Affair, Sweet Charity, Sunset Boulevard, Jekyll and Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, Cyrano the Musical, The Secret Garden, Oklahoma, Tommy, Promises Promises, Dracula the Musical, City of Angels, An Inspector Calls, The Drowsy Chaperone, Blood Brothers, and Grand Hotel. You can hear Dean on recordings by Frank Sinatra (Duets II, Frank and Sammy Birthday Bash at Bally’s, Sinatra 80th Live in Concert),Frank Sinatra Jr. (As I Remember It), Harry Connick Jr.(We Are in Love), Celine Dion (These Are Special Times), Denis DiBlasio (Rhino), Betty Buckley (Sunset Boulevard), Linda Eder and others, as well as on the movie soundtracks to Femme Fatale (w/Antonio Banderas), Lucky Numbers (w/John Travolta), Snake Eyes (w/Nicholas Cage) and The Godfather 3. Mr. Witten was a member of the staff orchestras at Resorts International, Tropicana and Sands Hotel Casinos in Atlantic City where he performed with Peter Allen, Paul Anka, Susan Anton, Frankie Avalon, Burt Bacharach, Charlie Callas, Diahann Carroll, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Bill Conti, Vic Damone, Sammy Davis Jr., Dom Deluise, Jose Feliciano, Fifth Dimension, Aretha Franklin, Mitzi Gaynor, Robert Goulet, Joel Grey, Joey Heatherton, Clint Holmes, Lena Horne, Englebert Humperdink, Lanie Kazan, Carol Lawrence, Jerry Lewis, Liberace, Gloria Loring, Patti Lupone, Rich Little, Melissa Manchester, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Maureen McGovern, Liza Minelli, Anthony Newley, Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, Patti Page, Lou Rawls, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Neal Sedaka, Frank Sintara, Steve and Edye, Keely Smith, Connie Stevens, Leslie Ughamms, Ben Vereen, Dionne Warwick, Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra, Paul Williams and others. 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. Dean Witten performs exclusively with Mike Balter Mallets and Pro-Mark Drumsticks, on Yamaha Percussion Instruments and Zildjian Cymbals.