Born in Toronto and based out of New York City, Sean Mayes enjoys an active and varied career internationally as a conductor, music director, orchestrator, arranger, composer, author, and educator across North America and Europe, with his work spanning numerous musical styles through the world’s largest theatres and concert halls, between Broadway, theatre, opera, classical and pops.
In New York, Mr Mayes shares his time as Conductor for two Tony Award®-winning Broadway productions, the new MJ: The Musical and HADESTOWN, and is a frequent Music Director of numerous engagements within the Broadway community.
Recent symphonic conducting engagements include conducting the American Pops Orchestra in
Black Broadway: A Proud History, a Limitless Future for National Television on PBS, featuring a select star line up of Broadway’s most established Black performers.
Internationally, Mayes serves as a Conductor and Music Supervisor of productions across the globe.
In Fall 2022, Mr Mayes served as Music Director and Conductor of the new musical MANDELA,
inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela and co-produced by the Mandela family for production at the Young Vic Theatre in London, UK. Additional recent credits include serving as Music Supervisor
for the International Finnish Premiere of the musical COME FROM AWAY.
At home in Canada, Mayes was Music Director and Conductor of the all-Canadian premiere of
THE COLOR PURPLE in 2019, for which he was awarded the 2020 Merritt Award
for Outstanding Musical Direction.
As Music Supervisor, recent work includes supervision of BLACK HERSTORY; an all immersive
two-day joint event with AFROPUNK at Lincoln Center featuring an all-star line of Black musical talent, and as Music Supervisor of RENT: In Concert at the Kennedy Center; a new orchestral concert production of the hit musical, performed for the first time with permission from the Jonathan Larson estate.
As a composer, orchestrator, and arranger, Mayes’ work is frequently performed in venues across
North America & Europe, ranging from theatre through Pops, to classical and opera.
As Music Director for Broadway luminary André De Shields, Mr Mayes was Music Director, Orchestrator & Arranger for An Evening With André De Shields with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2021.
This past season, Mayes’ compositions were featured in the Canadian national tour of
FALL ON YOUR KNEES, the anticipated stage adaptation of the ground-breaking Canadian novel by author Ann-Marie MacDonald, for which Mayes also served as Music Supervisor, having toured at Canadian Stage (Toronto), Neptune Theatre (Halifax), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and
the Grand Theatre (London).
His work can additionally currently be heard live in the Mainstage production of KING LEAR
in the 2023 Season of the Stratford Festival.
Equally at ease in the classical world, a new opera, Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White, composed and orchestrated by Mr Mayes alongside Canadian multidisciplinary artist HAUI, will make its World Premiere at the Canadian Opera Company in the COC’s 2023/2024 season.
Mr Mayes will also conduct the World Premiere at the COC.
As an author, Mayes’ leading writing and scholarship is uniquely attuned to the ongoing conversation of unpacking systemic issues surrounding representation in theatre and arts. He is a published author
on the role of Black music directors and disproportionately represented artists on Broadway in
Reframing the Musical, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and on the retracing of Black practitioners through British musical theatre history in An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre published by Bloomsbury Publishing, which was celebrated for release in concert at
Wigmore Hall in London in 2021.
His anticipated text, Conversations in Color: Exploring North American Musical Theatre,
will be published in November 2023 through Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury Publishing.
Mr Mayes is a member of the Recording Academy, and holds degrees in music, education, and
music direction from McGill University and the University of Surrey.