Cancer claims Canada’s principal trombone

Cancer claims Canada’s principal trombone


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2022

Members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa have reported the death from cancer of Donald Renshaw, principal trombone for 36 years.

Montreal born, Don studied at Juilliard and, after a period freelancing in New York, became a fixture in Canadian musical life. He was a founding member of NAC Brass.

Here’s the notice shared among the orchestra:

“It is with a very heavy heart that I share the news that Don Renshaw, beloved Principal Trombone of the NAC Orchestra, passed away this evening (December 21) at the Queensway Carleton Hospital after a 6-month long battle with cancer.
Don was a member of the orchestra for 36 years and his positivity and infectious smile will be sorely missed by his colleagues on stage as well as his friends on the Administration. A proud ambassador for the NAC Orchestra and a tireless advocate for music education, Don’s legacy will live on through all those who knew him and share his passion for and belief in the healing power of music.
Our deepest condolences go out to Don’s wife Linda, his sons Adam and Aaron, and all his extended family at this very difficult time.”


  • Richard Kessler says:

    I attended Juilliard with Don. He was a lovely person and a terrific player. What a wonderful career he has had and I am sorry to learn of his death. May his memory be a blessing.

  • James Scott says:

    I went to school with Don, and we both ended up working with Canadian orchestras. Our paths crossed every so often over the years, and he was always the same great guy and great player. I’m so sorry to hear this news, and my heart goes out to his family. RIP Don, this is a loss for all of us.

  • Chris Guy says:

    What terrible news with Christmas just around the corner.
    I never knew the man but as a fellow trombonist please send my condolences to his wife and his 2 sons at such a difficult time.

  • Malcolm Wade says:

    I cannot express the sadness I feel. Don was wonderful, and a great inspiration to me.

  • Doug Renshaw says:

    I love Don.He is my youngest brother.I never saw enough of him during his busy career.I still love him.