B i o g r a p h y

Critics hail pianist Rich Ridenour as amazingly versatile, masterfully musical and wickedly funny.  Mr. Ridenour established his career performing his own musical arrangements of classical masterworks and today’s popular piano favourites. With hundreds of engagements to his credit, Mr. Ridenour has recently performed with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Atlanta, Kansas City, Topeka, Harrisburg, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Charleston, West Virginia, Elgin, Owensboro, Mazatlan, Mexico  and the Bravissimo Festival Orchestra of Guatemala City.  Each season Mr. Ridenour serves as pops director for the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra.

 

Mr. Ridenour has collaborated with renowned performers such as Martin Short, Carol Lawrence, Robert Guillaume, Smokey Robinson, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Larry Gatlin, David Ogden Stiers, Jim Nabors, Richard Hayman and Jennifer Holiday.  He is frequently heard with his son Brandon Ridenour who played trumpet for 8 years with Canadian Brass.

 

Mr. Ridenour has created over 50 recordings. Most notable are a two disc set he developed with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra called Piano Pop that feature arrangements of Billy Joel, Elton John, Vince Guaraldi, Richard Addinsell plus George Gershwin’s two Rhapsodies.  Mr. Ridenour has collaborated on CDs with Patrick Sheridan (tuba), vocalists Linn Maxwell Keller, Diane Penning, Kathy Wagner, violinists Barry Ross and Steve Brook, the Richmond Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, West Shore Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony and a two set disc called Trumpet Invasion and Encores with Brandon Ridenour.

 

A lifelong passion has been music education.  As Education Director for the International Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mr. Ridenour conceived and developed Camp Gilmore at Sherman Lake YMCA, Keys Fest and educational piano labs in the public schools and juvenile center (working with day treatment and lock up youth).  Mr. Ridenour taught in all these programs that today are a part of the Festival’s year long programs offered to young musicians to explore and grow in music.   Mr. Ridenour also created two student shows for the Gilmore Festival:  Invention Mania and the Piano Student of Mrs. McCalfrey.

 

Mr. Ridenour also founded the non-profit organization Grand Rapids Musicians League serving over 400 young musicians in after school programs. Affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs, GRML provides student scholarships to music camps and musical programs to enrich young musicians in the greater Grand Rapids area. As a component of  GRML the Keller Cooler Music Series was launched at the Meijer Botanical Gardens. This series inspired Fred and Lena Meijer to build an amphitheatre which led to the Fifth Third Bank Summer Music Series.

 

Many of Mr. Ridenour’s students have succeeded in musical careers while others have instilled a lifelong pleasure in music.   Working with Education for the Arts in Kalamazoo, Mr. Ridenour developed Music for Life giving high school musicians an after school opportunity to explore disciplines in all styles of music.  This included work in music theory, history, composition, performance, computer music arranging programs and video capture/editing.   Mr. Ridenour has also instructed piano at Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University, Calvin College and Western Michigan University.

 

In 2011 Mr. Ridenour co-introduced City Keys to the city of Jacksonville, Florida. Six upright pianos painted by area professional artists brought energy to the downtown sidewalks for everyone to play and explore.  In 2014, Mr. Ridenour worked as an advisor with the Sarasota Arts Alliance where currently 11 painted pianos grace the community for people to explore.

 

Since 2013, Sarasota has been home for Rich and his wife Stacy, who serves as development director for the Sarasota Opera.  Rich and Stacy have two children.  Brandon is a professional trumpet player and Ross is a Chief Captain for Air Wisconsin serving United Airlines.

 

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mr. Ridenour received a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. Ridenour is an international Steinway Artist.

 

Orchestras I have had the pleasure to perform with:

 

Altoona Symphony Orchestra  Nick Palmer

North Charleston Pops Orchestra   Nick Palmer

Wyoming Symphony Orchestra  Matthew Savery

Alabama Symphony Orchestra  Christopher Confessore

Sarasota Pops Orchestra  Robyn Bell

Brevard Symphony Orchestra  Christopher Confessore

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Michael Krajewski

Tacoma Symphony (WA)  Harvey Felder

Portland Symphony (ME) Norman Huynh

Fort Wayne Philharmonic   Chia-Hsuan Lin

Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra Christopher Stanichar

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra  Stuart Chafetz

Kansas City Symphony   Stuart Chafetz

La Porte Symphony (IN)  Phil Bauman

Pensacola Symphony (FL)   Peter Rubardt

Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra - Mazatlan, Mexico  Nick Palmer

First Coast Wind Ensemble - Jacksonville, FL  Artie Clifton

Danville Symphony  (IL)  Jeremy Swerling

Kalamazoo Concert Band (MI) Thomas Evans

Jackson Symphony Orchestra (MI) Stephen Osmond

Santa Rosa Symphony (CA) Michael Berkowitz

Topeka Symphony Orchestra (KS)  John Strickler

Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra (WI) Kevin McMahon, Guy Bordo

Salt River Brass (Mesa, AZ) Patrick Sheridan

Wilmington (NC) Steven Errante

Temple (TX)  Thomas Fairlie, Brent Colwell

West Virginia (WV)  Grant Cooper

Bravissimo Festival of Guatemala  Lester Godinez

First Coast Wind Ensemble (Jacksonville, FL) Artie Clifton

Harrisburg Symphony (PA) Stuart Malina

Paducah Symphony (KY) Michael Berkowitz

Greensboro Symphony (NC) Michael Berkowitz

San Antonio Symphony (TX) Michael Krajewski

Cleveland Pops (OH) Carl Topilow

Jacksonville Symphony (FL) Michael Krajewski, Fabio Mechetti

Detroit Symphony (MI) Michael Krajewski

Florida Orchestra (FL) Michael Krajewski

Colorado Springs (CO) Lawrence Leighton Smith

Erie Symphony (PA) Jeff Tyzik

Portland Symphony (ME) Toshimi Shimada

Knoxville Symphony (TN) Kirk Trevor

Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) David Lockington, John Varineau

Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) Catherine Comet (Classical Series)

Richardson Symphony (TX) Anshel Brusilow

Virginia Symphony (VA) JoAnn Falletta

Midland-Odessa Symphony (TX) Rob Hunt

Springfield Symphony (MO) Apo Hsu

Elgin Symphony (IL) Robert Hanson

West Shore Symphony (MI) Murray Gross

Lexington Symphony (KY) George Zack

Traverse City Symphony (MI) Byron Hanson/David Holland

Missoula Symphony (MT) Joseph Henry

Kokomo Symphony (IN) Brian Groner

Missouri Symphony (MO) Kirk Trevor

Kalamazoo Symphony (MI) Barry Ross, Raymond Harvey

Enid Symphony (OK) Douglas Newell

Duluth Symphony (MN) John Varineau

Richmond Symphony (IN) Guy Bordo

Owensboro Symphony (KY) Nicholas Palmer

South Bend Symphony (IN) Tsung Yeh

Fox Valley Symphony (WI) Brian Groner

Southwest Symphony (MI) Robert Vodnoy

Idaho State Civic Symphony (ID) Thom Ritter George, Chung Park

Billings Symphony (MT) Uri Barnea

Northwest Indiana Symphony (IN) Tsung Yeh

Jackson Chorale Symphony (MI) Thomas Sheets

Rockford Symphony (IL) Steven Larsen

Champaign-Urbana Symphony (IL) Steven Larsen

Milliken - Decatur Symphony (IL) Michael Luxner

Pottstown Symphony (PA) Rosalind Erwin

Lafayette Symphony (IN) Robert Hanson, Nick Palmer

Dearborn Symphony (MI)  Rich Ridenour

Adrian Symphony (MI) John Dodson

Tucson Symphony (AZ) Rich Ridenour

Great Falls Symphony (MT) Gordon Johnson

Elmhurst Symphony (IL) Steven Alltop

Wichita Symphony (KS) Michael Krajewski

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