Michael F. Ritter
Adjunct Faculty, Intro to Music
Mr. Ritter comes to APSU after a 31 year career as an Army Band instrumentalist and conductor. He has performed with artists such as Herbie Mann, Gabe Baltazar, Rufus Reid, Akira Tana, Tony Horowitz, Wycliff Gordon, and many others. Mr. Ritter has led big bands in a number of international jazz festivals including The North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Perugia Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, SWR Hot Jazz Festival, Budapest Jazz Festival, and countless other jazz festivals throughout Germany and western Europe. He has gone on numerous concert band tours throughout the United States and Europe. Some of those events include a concert for First Lady Betty Ford, President Reagan’s Inaugural Parade, the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the 50th Anniversary of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor (both broadcast on national TV), and performances with Miss America.
Commercially, Mr. Ritter has performed with many musical groups that consist of diverse genres, including a substitute hire for the Greenville Symphony, SC. He has also performed and conducted a number of musicals to include West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Mame, and Purlie, where he received an award for musical excellence.
Throughout Mr. Ritter’s musical career, he has had a number of occasions to support music education. He was recently a guest clinician at the Cuban Baptist Worship Leaders’ Conference, Havana, Cuba. He has hosted a Jazz Symposium in Heidelberg, Germany, co-hosted the Brass Symposium with the American Horn Quartet, Heidelberg, Germany, hosted two Improvisation Clinics in Augusta, Georgia, and an Arranging Seminar in Hawaii. He has also been the guest conductor at the Maui District Band Festival in Hawaii, adjudicator at many Georgia Music Educator’s Association (Northeast Region) concert festivals, conducted the featured concert at the Georgia Music Educator’s Association (Northeast Region), trumpet adjudicator for Montgomery County, All-County Band auditions, and a clinician at music clinics at many high school band programs. Mr. Ritter was also a faculty member at the Navy School of Music as a rehearsal conductor and trumpet instructor. While on staff at the School of Music, Mr. Ritter performed with the faculty concert band and jazz band, and a wide variety of chamber groups including performances on Latin percussion.
Mr. Ritter has a Bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University and a Master of Music with an Instrumental Conducting Specialization from Austin Peay State University. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and CBDNA.
Mr. Ritter has performed and conducted on a number of military band and commercial recordings. He has also arranged a number of pieces for concert band and jazz band that feature instrumental soloists and vocalists.
Mr. Ritter is currently the President and Musical Director of the Cumberland Winds, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that exists to promote musical excellence in performing groups in the Clarksville area, and to award music scholarships. The organization consists of a concert band, big band, jazz combo, dixie band, woodwind quintet, brass quintet and solo instruments. The groups have performed at events such as: Strawberry Alley, Jazz on the Lawn, Rivers and Spires, Riverfest, and many private and commercial events.
Mr. Ritter is also the lead trumpet player of the Metro Big Band, a Christian big band that has traveled on musical mission trips to countries such as Cuba, Russia, Guatemala, and Finland.