Biography

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)

At only 30 years of age, Thomas Leleu is considered as the “young world star of the tuba” (Europe 1). This iconoclastic artist stands where genres mix: a classical soloist, passionate about world music, modern music and pop…This absolute tuba genius (La Nouvelle République), acknowledged by his peers, already has an impressive career. In his hands the tuba reveals all its richness, fineness and complexity, a range that may seem endless, where it can finally find a new breath, a new youth. Thomas Leleu is a true prodigy and deploys a surprising musicality and agility, dusting off the traditional image of the tuba. He wants to bring down the barriers that exist between classical and contemporary music. His style eclecticism and uninhibited approach to concert performances make him the ideal ambassador of the tuba.”

Thomas Leleu tubaThis 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.

Thomas is also regularly invited to perform at festivals and in theatres around the world such as: Mito Festival, Teatro Dal Verme Milan, Teatro Carignano Turin, International Festival Kissinger Sommer (Germany), Radio France-Occitanie- Montpellier Festival, Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims, salle Gaveau, Palais des Congrès of Paris, International Brass Festival Namur (Belgium), Eastman School University (USA), New England Conservatory (USA), International Festivald of Campinas (Brazil), Linz International Brass Festival (Austria), Trombonanza Festival (Argentina), Pristina International Festival (Kosovo), Festival de Sully et du Loiret, season of Grand Théâtre de Provence (Aix en Provence), Maison de Radio France, Théâtre National de Marseille – La Criée, « Les concerts de l’Improbable » et « La nuit d l’improvisation » au Théâtre du Châtelet (avec Jean-François Zygel), Archives Nationales, Brucknerhaus of Linz, Festival International of Roquevaire, Festival International « les Musicales du Parc », Festival « Classique, Pas Classique », Corum de Montpellier, Festival Eurocuivres, les concerts de poche, Festival de Musique de Saint-
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…
As a soloist he performs with numerous orchestras, such as : the Orchestre National d’Ile de France (France), Philharmonisches Orchester des Theaters Plauen-Zwickau (Germany), Jeju Symphonic Orchestra (South Korea), Orchestre Philharmonique de l’Opéra de Marseille (France), Orchestre d’Avignon Provence-OLRAP (France), Orchestre de Douai région Nord-pas-de-Calais (France), Orquesta sinfonica de Larà (Venezuela), Sante Fe Symphonic Orchestra (Argentina), Orchestre de la Police Nationale (France), Coups de Vents Wind Orchestra (France), the Brighouse and Rastrick Band (UK)…

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 Leleu tubaThomas 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.

In 2018/2019 he will perform in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, France…The Tuba’s Trip will be performed at the Seine Musicale (Boulogne-Billancourt, France), Théâtre de Fontainebleau, Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne…

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.

Wikipedia link