Mark L. Lusk: Professor of Trombone

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Professor of Trombone, Penn State University

Mark Lancaster Lusk, Professor of Trombone, became a member of the Penn State faculty in 1986. Prior to his appointment, he enjoyed a varied career with such diverse groups as the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players.

Over the last 30 years, Professor Lusk has enjoyed an active playing career as a soloist, clinician, and freelance musician. For example, as a member of the Woody Herman Alumni Band, he has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including featured performances at jazz festivals in China, England, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Scotland, and Sweden. Lusk can be heard on three recordings with the Woody Herman bands; Woody's 50th Anniversary Tour, A Tribute to the Legacy of Woody Herman, and Live in London at Ronnie Scott's. Lusk enjoys playing both lead and bass trombone in a variety of regional bands, and is an active member of the Penn State Faculty Jazz Combo.

Professor Lusk has performed on Broadway, including the original production and cast recording of Little Women. His successful experience on Broadway allowed him to play such memorable shows as Les Miserable, Phantom Of The Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Victor/Victoria, Miss Saigon, and Beauty and the Beast. He continues his passion for this style of playing in a variety of theaters around Pennsylvania.

 

Professor Lusk’s performing and teaching has also taken him to South America. He has toured Chile as an artist/clinician, teaching and performing throughout the country, including a performance of Raymond Premru's Concerto for Tuba with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción and Robert Spillman’s Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile. Mr. Lusk was also invited to Argentina as an artist/clinician. His performance with the Orquesta Filharmónica de Buenos Aires was the first time a trombonist had been a soloist in the history of the legendary Teatro Colon. Since 2014, Professor Lusk has done significant performing and teaching in Cuba, including the upcoming premiere a project he conceived entitiled Pictures at a Cuban Exposition.

Professor Lusk is honored to be a member of the teaching faculties at the Cleveland Trombone Seminar, Interlochen Summer Camp and the Interlochen Low Brass Institute. Each year, Professor Lusk tours as a soloist and with various groups that take him to numerous universities, educational conferences, and high school music programs across the United States. He has often performed at the American Trombone Workshop, New York Brass Conference, and the International Trombone Workshop where he was invited to conduct the William Cramer Memorial Trombone Ensemble of College Professors.

The proud father of seven, Lusk is a native of Brandenburg, Kentucky. He holds his undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Eastman School of Music and a performance certificate from Northwestern University. Lusk is a artist/clinician for S.E. Shires Trombones, and is published by Lyceum Press, including the Trombonist's Guide to the Unaccompanied Cello Suites of
J. S. Bach. 

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

Mark Lancaster Lusk, Professor of Trombone, joined the Penn State music faculty in 1986. Prior to his appointment, he enjoyed a varied career with such diverse groups as the Woody Herman Band, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players. He continues to have an active playing career as a soloist, clinician, and freelance musician. Lusk has toured the world as an active member of the Woody Herman Alumni Band. He has also performed on Broadway. Lusk’s performing and teaching has taken him to South America, including Chile, Argentina, and Cuba. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Eastman School of Music and a performance certificate from Northwestern University. Lusk is an artist/clinician for S.E. Shires Trombones, and is published by Lyceum Press.

DOSSIER

Experience prior to appointment at Penn State University

1976-1981
Eastman School of Music, Bachelor of Music in Applied Trombone
Student of Donald Knaub, David Richey, Cherry Beauregard, and Dr. John Marcellus

Honors included:

  • Awarded the first Emory B. Remington Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate Trombonist
  • Awarded the coveted Performer’s Certificate
  • Earned an audition for the Artist’s Diploma, the Eastman School of Music’s most distinguished performance award

Important performance experiences:

  • Rochester Philharmonic; substitute and extra trombonist
  • Colorado Philharmonic; bass trombonist
  • Eastman Philharmonia; bass trombonist
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble; bass trombonist
  • Eastman Jazz Ensemble; bass trombonist
  • Arranger’s Holiday Orchestra; bass trombonist
  • Extensive chamber music including the Eastman Trombone Choir

1981-83  
Eastman School of Music, Master of Music in Trombone Performance with an emphasis in low brass pedagogy
Student of Dr. John Marcellus

Honors included:

  • Graduate Assistantship; responsibilities included assistant conductor of the trombone choir, private instruction on the undergraduate and graduate levels, and instructing the trombone methods course
  • Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department, Faculty Member
  • Winner of the Phi Mu Alpha Concerto Competition and performed with the Eastman Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Donald Hunsberger

Important performance experiences:

  • Rochester Philharmonic; substitute and extra trombonist
  • Eastman Philharmonia; bass trombonist
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble; bass trombonist
  • Eastman Jazz Ensemble; bass trombonist
  • Arranger’s Holiday Orchestra; bass trombonist
  • Freelance musician in Rochester, including work with Chuck Mangione

1983-84  
Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Instructor of Low Brass and Director of Jazz Studies

Responsibilities included coaching brass chamber music, conducting the low brass choir, two jazz ensembles, and administering the annual jazz festival

Important performance experiences:

  • Lawrence Conservatory of Music Faculty Brass Quintet
  • Fox Valley Symphony; principal trombonist
  • Bob Levy Big Band; lead trombonist

1984  
Woody Herman Band; extensive touring which included engagements with Tony Bennett, and Rosemary Clooney

1984-86  
Northwestern University, Certificate in Performance
Student of Frank Crisafulli

Honors included:

  • Graduate Assistantship in the Trombone and the Ensemble Department; responsibilities included conducting the Trombone Ensemble and the Jazz Lab Band
  • Invited to solo with the Northwestern Wind Ensemble under the direction of John Paynter at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic
  • Completed all the course work for the Doctor of Musical Arts

Important performance experiences:

  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra; substitute bass trombonist
  • Chicago Civic Orchestra; bass trombonist
  • Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players; trombone soloist
  • Freelance musician in Chicago, including work the Bob Stone Big Band

1986

Woody Herman Band, extensive touring including the recording of the 50th Anniversary Album

Experience at Penn State University since appointment as Assistant Professor of Low Brass

1986-93
Important teaching experiences:

  • Recruiting and developing the low brass studio from 6 low brass majors to enrollments of 35 to 45 majors proportioned between the trombone and the tuba-euphonium studios
  • Initiating and conducting the Trombone Choir including performances at the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the New York Brass Conference, the All-Eastern Music Educator's Conference, and the annual Frühling Posaunen Festival of which the trombone choir is a founding member along with the trombone choirs from the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College
  • Initiating and conducting the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble including performances at the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Conference, the Eastern Tuba-Euphonium Conference, and the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference
  • Initiating and conducting the University Brass Choir including performances at the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Conference, the All-Eastern Music Educator's Conference, and the New York Brass Conference
  • Classroom instruction of trombone and low brass methods, and summer courses for non-majors in music history, theory, and jazz history
  • Coordinating as many as four low brass graduate assistants who maintained a chamber music program and improvisation instruction for all the low brass majors
  • Membership on the Graduate Faculty including the development of a graduate brass pedagogy and literature course

Important performance experiences as a soloist and chamber musician:

  • Two solo recitals at Penn State University each school year
  • Clinic/Recital tour every year that featured over 25 of the major schools of music across the United States
  • Solo performances with over 35 high school bands in the Pennsylvania region
  • Solo performances with all the major ensembles at Penn State University
  • Performed at the following professional conventions: Pennsylvania Music Educator's Conference, New York State Music Educator's Association Conference, Eastern Trombone Workshop, Eastern Tuba-Euphonium Conference, Mid-East Band and Orchestra Clinic, International Trombone Workshops, including conducting the 1991 William Cramer Trombone Ensemble of College Professors
  • Performed extensively with the Pennsylvania BrassWorks, the faculty brass quintet of the Penn State University

Other important performance experiences:

  • Freelance performance throughout the region, including the symphony orchestras of Harrisburg, Altoona, Williamsport, Johnstown, Chautauqua, and the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra
  • Freelance performance outside of the region, including extensive work with the Woody Herman Alumni Band,
    the Maria Schneider/John Fedchock Big Band, and in Atlantic City at Caesar’s Palace and Trump Plaza

Additional Experience at Penn State University since promotion, tenure, and reassignment to Associate Professor of Trombone in 1993 and Full Professor of Trombone in 2000

  • Recruit and maintain an active full studio of trombone majors
  • Published The Trombonist’s Guide to the Unaccompanied Cello Suites of J. S. Bach by Lyceum Press
  • Expanded freelance performance to include work on Broadway in shows as Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Les Miserable, Victor/Victoria, Sunset Boulevard, and Beauty and the Beast
  • Published several transcriptions, including Gabriel Faure’s Requiem for trombone choir/brass ensemble
  • Performed, recorded, and toured with the Woody Herman Alumni Band on the 60th Anniversary Tour to Europe, including a performance at Carnegie Hall. In the summer of 1997, 1999 and 2000 toured Europe including major jazz festivals in Turkey, England, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Including a live recording at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London
  • Soloist with the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra in the premiere of Raymond Premru’s Concerto for Tuba as performed on the bass trombone
  • Awarded the Faculty Education and Learning Technologies Grant in a university-wide competition for advancing the use of technology in the applied music studio
  • Appointed Instrumental and Technologies Advisor at the Milton Hershey School
  • Invited to Chile as a guest artist/clinician in the summer of 1999; including a solo appearence with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción
  • Invited to Argentina as a guest artist/clinician in the summer of 2000; including a solo appearence with the Orquesta Filharmónica de Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon
  • Promoted to Full Professor in 2001
  • Invited to play the original Broadway production of Little Women starring Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern. The original cast album was recorded by Ghostlight Records
  • Invited to play Principal/Solo trombone with the River City Brass Band in 2007-2008
  • Since 2007, a Valade Fellow at the Interlochen Summer Music Camp, and the Interlochen Low Brass Intstitute
  • Soloist with the Penn State Philharmonic in the premiere Kim Scharnberg's Journey for Trombone and Orchestra
  • Since 2012, a faculty member of the Cleveland Trombone Seminar
  • Awarded the College of Arts and Architecture Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013
  • Since 2014, actively performing and teaching in Cuba, including the upcoming premiere of a project he envisioned entitled
    Pictures at a Cuban Exposition