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 world star of the tuba » (Frédéric Taddéï, Europe 1)
- « The prodigy of the tuba » (La Croix)
- « The tuba has found its Paganini » (Frédéric Lodéon , France Musique)
« 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)
This master-of-all-trade, originally from Lille (France), 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. In 2012 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.
Victor, Théâtre de l’Odéon (Marseille), Les Estivales de Musique en Médoc, les Escapades Musicales, Festival Européen Jeunes Talents (Paris), Brass Open de Lesquin, Eté Musical d’Anzy le Duc, Festival du Vigan, Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne, Floréal Musical d’Epinal…In the following countries : China, Japan, South Korea, USA, Venezuela, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Egypt, Kosovo…
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, Arte (« Stars von Morgen »), 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 2015, his album « In the mood for tuba » 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. In 2017, he recorded « Impressions for tuba » composed by André Waignein, with the Royal Orchestra of the Belgian Airforce, .
Drawn to contemporary music, several composers have dedicated their pieces to him, 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, André Waignein, Marc Steckar, Arnaud Boukhitine, Dominique Probst, Jorge Tagliapietra (Argentina) and Roberto Pintos (Argentina). He also created “Convergences” by J. Ph. Vanbeselaere, for tuba solo, contemporary music trio (guitar, bass guitar, drums) and symphonic 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 also endorses since 2012 the socio-educational programme « El Sistema-France ».
Thomas is always looking to innovate and has founded several unique and unprecedented ensembles with a tuba, such as the Thomas Leleu Sextet (tuba and string quintet) and tubaVScello (tuba and cello), with which he performs in numerous festivals and locations. In 2017 he created the show The Tuba’s Trip staged by Claude Tissier, and coproduced by the Opéra de Marseille and the City of Marseille. This creation was a huge success. He thus naturally turned to the show and entertainment area.
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.
In 2018/2019, he will make his debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus and will be at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommen festival (Germany), at the Brandenburgische Sommerkonzerte (Germany), the festivals “Un violon sur le sable” and “Festival de Boucard” in France and will be touring in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, China and in Morocco.