Thomas Leleu is the first tuba player to have ever won the award “Revelation Instrumental Soloist of the Year” at the annual French classical music award event, the Victoires de la musique classique.
- « The prodigy of the tuba » (La Croix)
- « The tuba has found its Paganini » (Frédéric Lodéon , France Musique)
- « The tuba genius » (La Nouvelle République)
- « Just as Jean-Pierre Rampal made the flute popular and Maurice André the trumpet, Thomas Leleu is currently the best representative of the tuba and proves that he can also be a fully-fledged soloist. » (Frédéric Lodéon)
Born in Lille (France) in 1987, he started playing the tuba with his father. He later studied with François Thuillier and Philippe Legris. He joined the Conservatoire de Paris (the CNSM) at age 17, having won the first prize of the open competition; Thomas joined the tuba class of Gérard Buquet and Bernard Neuranter and the chamber music class of Jens Mc Manama. After a three-year training course he obtained the first prize for tuba and a degree awarded with distinctions. In 2006, he went on an international exchange at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold (Germany) with Hans Nickel (Tuba solo at the WDR Orchestra of Köln).
Thomas Leleu earned awards in several competitions throughout the world such as in Markneukirchen – Germany, Jeju City – South Korea, and Luxembourg. He has been principal tubist with the Marseille Philharmonic Opera since he turned 19. On February 20th 2014, aged 24, Thomas put the tuba in the spotlight by winning the “Revelation Instrumental Soloist of the Year” at the annual French classical music award event, the Victoires de la musique classique.
Thomas is frequently invited to take part in various radio and tv shows, on France 2 (« La boîte à Musique » de JF Zygel), Europe 1, Paris Première, Radio Classique, France Musique, Kosovo National TV, France Inter, Bayerische Rundfunk (Germany), Radio Nacional de Argentina, (Argentina), France Bleu, Fip, France 3, LCM, Radio Juive Marseille…
In 2012, he set up his unique and unprecedented ensemble : the Thomas Leleu Sextet (tuba and string quintet). They perform together at various festivals.
In February 2015, his album « In the mood for tuba », recorded with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Larà (Venezuela) and the Thomas Leleu Sextet was released by the Fondamenta label and is distributed by Sony Music, Naxos and Harmonia Mundi. It received a warm welcome by the public and the critics. He is the only French tubist to ever have recorded with a symphonic orchestra.
A “ Yamaha Performing Artist ” from 2008 to 2011, he is since 2011 a “Melton Meinl/Weston Artist – Ambassador Buffet Group“ . He has developed with the prestigious firm the 2250 TL “ French Touch ” tuba which he is currently playing.
Looking to enlarge the brass repertoire, he has worked with several composers such as Richard Galliano (creation of the Fables of Tuba, which has received a “Victoire de la Musique Classique” in 2014), Vladimir Cosma, Claude Bolling, J. Ph. Vanbeselaere, but also with Marc Steckar (Insoliste), Arnaud Boukhitine (Menuet Fantasque), Dominique Probst, Jorge Tagliapietra (Argentina) and Roberto Pintos (Argentina) whose pieces he created. He is very fond of contemporary music and created Convergences by J. Ph. Vanbeselaere, for tuba solo, contemporary music trio (guitar, bass guitar, drums) and symphonic orchestra with the Marseille Orchestra.
Thomas regularly gives master classes in France and abroad : Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSM), New England Conservatory de Boston, Montclair State University de New York, Eastman School of Music de Rochester, University of Iowa de Iowa City, Oklahoma State University, Arkansas University (USA), Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, Pékin Central Conservatory, Korea National University, Conservatoire Supérieur de Las Palmas – Spain, Conservatoire de Barquisimeto – Venezuela, many music schools in France, Belgium, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, China, South Korea, etc.
He endorses since 2012 the socio-educational programme « El Sistema-France ».
In 2017/2018, he will create his original show “The Tuba’s Trip” (staged by Claude Tissier and coproduced by the City of Marseille, the Opera of Marseille, Odeon and Tuba French Touch). He will also perform in various festivals such as the prestigious Radio France Festival in Montpellier, record a concerto by André Waignien with the Belgian Air Forces and record his 2nd album as a duo tuba/cello.
Thomas Leleu plays the Melton instruments Tuba fa 2250 TL “ French Touch ” / Tuba ut 2000 / Cimbasso 41.