Don Lusher was born in Peterborough. He started playing the trombone in the Salvation Army when he was six years old. During the war he served in the Royal Artillery, after being demobbed he entered the music profession, he played with many band such as Jo Daniels, Lou Praeger, Maurice Winnick, The Squadronaires, Jack Parnell, Geraldo eventually joining Ted Heath.
He was lead trombone with the Heath band for nine years and did several coast to coast tours of the USA. While he was in the States, he heard Tommy Dorsey and took tuition from Dick Nash and the late Will Bradley. During his time with Ted Heath, Don topped many musical polls.
He is called upon to work in the studios for some of the most famous Musical Directors in the world. He has also often toured with Frank Sinatra. Don appears as a guest soloist with Brass Bands, Wind Bands, Jazz Groups and Big Bands. He has his own band – The Don Lusher Big Band and fronts the re-formed Ted Heath Band. He is a member of The Best of British Jazz group featuring Kenny Baker, Jack Parnell, Brian Lemon, Roy Willox, Lennie Bush and himself. The group toured the States successfully and appears all over the UK.
He was chosen to give the first performances of “Rhapsody for Trombone” by Gordon Langford in 1975, “Dance Sequence” by Gareth Wood in 1980, both at the Albert Hall, “Concerto for Trombone” by Gordon Carr at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1980 and “Concertina for Trombone, Strings and Percussion” by Scott Stroman at Lichfield Cathedral in 1990.
In 1976, he was voted Musician of the Year by the BBC Jazz Society and in 1986, he was nominated for the Wavenden All Music Special Award. In 1987, he was awarded The Gold Badge of Merit for Services to British Music by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He endorses for Yamaha trombones.
In 1992, he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal College by HM the Queen Mother and now he is professor of Trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music at Portsmouth. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in February, 1993.
On BBC Radio 2, Don has sat in for Alan Dell and presented his own band on “Big Band Special”. As a member of the International Trombone Association, Don has served on their Board of Advisors and performed on several occasions at their International Workshops, always held in America until 1989 when, at the invitation of the newly formed British Trombone Society, the ITW was held at Eton College. He has twice been President of the British Trombone Society.
The Don Lusher Trombone Prize is awarded annually in BBC Radio 2’s National Big Band Competition, now in its 25th year. As a member of the jury, Don has selected many of today’s top young players for the award over the years, including in 1983, the current President of the British Trombone Society, Mark Nightingale.
Don Lusher spent some years as Professor of the Royal College of Music Big Band before becoming Professor of Trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music, Portsmouth in 1997. In 2001 Don recorded an album with Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, John Chilton & the Feetwarmers, John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton & George Melly called “British Jazz Legends Together”, which has been nationally acclaimed. Decca 470 271-2.
He was awarded an OBE for his services to music in January 2003.