Don Blakeson was born in Wetherby, Yorkshire and won a Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, studying trumpet with Ernest Hall and Richard 'Bob' Walton. He spent three years in the band of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) and then worked as a professional trumpet player in London. He held permanent contracts as co-principal trumpet with the English National Opera Orchestra and the BBC Radio Orchestra as well as freelancing in TV, recording and broadcasting 'session' orchestras.
In 1978 he was appointed Head of Brass to the Leicestershire Education Authority and is Vice-Principal (Wind/Brass) of the Leicestershire School of Music. He was Musical Director of the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 1997, and he continues teaching, playing and conducting in Leicestershire.
Don has considerable experience as a conductor of brass bands including Desford, Fodens and the City of Coventry, and is currently Musical Director of Leicester University Symphonic Concert Band. He is a writer and arranger and also adjudicates and plays on a freelance basis.
Brian qualified as a music teacher in 1967 and until recently was Director of Performing Arts at Guthlaxton College, Leicestershire's only specialist Arts College. He taught GCSE Music, A level Music and Music Technology and introduced BTEC Diplomas courses in Music and Music Theatre. Under his leadership and direction, the college achieved national recognition for music and the performing arts, being awarded Arts Mark Gold on successive occasions. The Guthlaxton Concert Band and Big Band toured abroad extensively and appeared in the finals of the National Concert Band Festival and Music for Youth on a number of occasions. The college also enjoyed an outstanding reputation for its Musical Theatre productions.
For many years, Brian worked as a conductor for the Leicestershire School of Music, also acting as musical director for local operatic and choral societies. A former member of the NAME executive committee, he has given presentations at conferences and published articles in the NAME magazine. He has acted as scrutineer for QCA and is at present Education Adviser to the Leicester International Music Festival.
A keen pianist, Brian has held a lifelong interest in jazz, and still performs on a regular basis with local professional and semi-professional musicians. He also teaches a jazz course at the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, part of the University of Leicester Institute of Lifelong Learning.