Artist Picture

James Ritchie

Timpani, Percussion

Assistant Principal Timpani, Percussion

DSO member since 2016

James (Jay) Ritchie joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2016 as Assistant Principal Timpani and Section Percussion. In 2019, he was featured as a soloist with the DSO in Philip Glass’s Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra along with DSO colleague Jeremy Epp. Prior to his DSO appointment, Ritchie was a regular guest musician with the Cleveland Orchestra, Principal Timpani of the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and performed frequently with other groups in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Ritchie has also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Ritchie spends his summers performing at a variety of festivals including the Sun Valley Music Festival. Previously, he served as Principal Timpani with the National Repertory Orchestra and participated in the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Britten-Pears Orchestra.

An active educator, Ritchie maintains a private studio in Detroit and frequently works with percussion students in the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles program. He is an endorser and clinician for Freer Percussion and Remo and has given masterclasses at major conservatories and universities throughout the US.

A native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Ritchie began studying piano at age eight and percussion at age 11. He received a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Duncan Patton, Chris Lamb, and She-e Wu, and completed his Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Paul Yancich and Marc Damoulakis.