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 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)
At only 29 years of age, Thomas Leleu is considered as the “young world star of the tuba”(Europe 1). This absolute tuba genius, 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 LeleuBorn 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 also regularly invited to perform at festivals and in theatres around the world such as: the MITO Festival, Teatro Dal Verme Milan, Teatro Carignano Turin, International Festival Kissinger Sommer of Bad Kissingen (Germany), Festival International de Cuivres de Namur (Belgium), Eastman School University (USA), New England Conservatory (USA), International Festival of Campinas (Brazil), Linz International Brass Festival (Austria), Festival Trombonanza (Argentina), Pristina International Festival (Kosovo), Festival de Sully et du Loiret (France), saison du Grand Théâtre de Provence (France), Maison de Radio France, Théâtre National de Marseille- La Criée (France), salle Gaveau (France), Palais des Congrès de Paris, « Les concerts de l’Improbable » et « La nuit d l’improvisation » au Théâtre du Châtelet (with Jean-François Zygel), Archives Nationales (France), Brucknerhaus de Linz (Austria), Festival International de Roquevaire (France), Festival International « les Musicales du Parc », Festival « Classique, Pas Classique », Festival Eurocuivres, les concerts de poche, Festival de Musique de Saint-Victor, Festival Européen Jeunes Talents (Paris), Rencontres Européennes du Brass Open de Lesquin, Eté Musical d’Anzy le Duc, Festival du Vigan, Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne, Floréal Musical d’Epinal…
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, 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 Leleu, Soliste avec orchestreThomas 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.

Wikipedia link