Trevor Herbert was born in Cwmparc. He spent three years at the Royal College of Music as a foundation scholar, where he studied trombone with Arthur Wilson and composition with Jeremy Dale Roberts. He subsequently took a BA degree in humanities at the Open University, and a Ph.D. for a thesis on ‘The Trombone in England before 1800’. He was awarded the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) of the Open University in 2009.
Between 1969 and 1976 he played trombone with many leading London orchestras and chamber groups, most particularly the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Opera, Welsh National Opera, the Northern Sinfonia, the Taverner Players, Musica Reservata and the Wallace Collection. He has played on many major recordings and broadcasts and taken part in concerts throughout the world.
In 1976 he joined the staff of the Open University. He continued to perform, and developed research interests in two different areas: the history, repertoires and performance cultures of brass instruments, and the place of music in the cultural history of Wales.
He is currently working on a major project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), ‘Military Sponsorship of Music in Britain in the Nineteenth Century and its Relationship with the Musical Mainstream’. The project aims to create a greater and more accurate understanding of military music in the period, and to explain its relationship to wider orbits of art and popular music. In so doing, it will offer a radical and significantly revised approach to the understanding of nineteenth-century British music history.
His latest book (co-authored with Helen Barlow), Music and the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century, is published by Oxford University Press.