“The world star of the tuba”
— Quotidien, TMC, Yann Barthes
Thomas was awarded the prize Instrumental Soloist Revelation of the year at the French award the “Victoires de la Musique Classique 2012”. He is the only tubist to have ever won this prize in the history of the Victoires de la Musique Classique.
“The best representative of the tuba”
— France 3
He is an unconventional artist at the crossroad of genres and one of the few tubists to lead exclusively a concertist career. A classical soloist, passionate about world, contemporary and pop music, Thomas has been hailed as an “absolute tuba genius (La Nouvelle République). He is recognized by his peers and already has an impressive career. In his hands, the tuba reveals all of its richness, fineness and complexity through a range that seems infinite; the tuba has found a new youth. Thomas Leleu is a true prodigy and shows an exceptional and surprising musicality and agility thereby dusting off the traditional image of the tuba. He is keen on decluttering classical and contemporary music and his disruptive approach to concert performance make him the ideal ambassador for his instrument.”
Thomas started studying at 17 at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse of Paris in Gérard Buquet’s tuba class and in the chamber music class of Jens Mc Manama. He graduated three years later with the 1st Tuba Prize. In 2006, he studied at the Hochschule für Musik of Detmold in Allemagne with Hans Nickel. He is an award winner of the prestigious international competitions of Markneukirchen (Germany), Jeju (South Korea) and Luxemburg,
At 19, Thomas was appointed Solo Tuba of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Marseille Opera, and stayed in the position for 10 years. In 2012, at 24, Thomas puts the tuba under the spotlights by winning the French award the “Victoires de la Musique Classique” in the “Instrumental Soloist Revelation of the year” category. In 2018, he was invited to come to Berlin by Rolando Villazon, and was ZDF / Arte – « Stars von Morgen » (Stars of tomorrow).
He performs as a soloist on a number of prestigious stages and festivals around the world: Konzerthaus of Berlin (Germany), Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), Mito Festival (Italy), Kissinger Sommer de Bad Kissingen (Germany), Brandenburgische SommerKonzerte (Germany), Festival de Radio France-Occitanie-Montpellier (France), Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims (France), Un Violon sur le Sable (France), Théâtre des Champs Elysées (France), Salle Gaveau (France), Théâtre du Châtelet (France), Maison de Radio France (France), Palais des Congrès de Paris (France), Festival de Sully et du Loiret (France), Grand Théâtre de Provence (France), Brucknerhaus de Linz (Austria), Saison des Invalides (France), Corum de Montpellier (France), Linz International Brass Festival (Austria), Pristina International Festival (Kosovo), « Les concerts de l’Improbable » et « La nuit d l’improvisation » with Jean-François Zygel, Les concerts de poche (France), Les Estivales de Musique en Médoc (France), Les Escapades Musicales (France), Festival du Vigan (France), Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne (France), Floréal Musical d’Epinal (France), Format Raisin (France)....And in the following countries : China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, Kosovo, Morocco…
He also performs as a soloist with various orchestras, such as: Orchestre National d’Ile de France (France), Junge Sinfonie Berlin (Germany), Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (France), 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), Orchestra Sinfonica de Lara (Venezuela), Orchestre Royal des Forces Aériennes Belges (Belgium), Santa Fe Symphonic Orchestra (Argentina), Orchestre de la Police Nationale (France), Orchestre de la Musique de l’Air de Paris (France)…
Thomas is regularly invited to radio and TV shows on France 2, France 3, Europe 1, Paris Première, Radio Classique, France Inter, Bayerische Rundfunk (Germany), Arte, France Musique, Kosovo National TV, Radio Nacional de Argentina, France Bleu, Fip…
In 2015, his album « In the mood for tuba » (Fondamenta/Sony Music was warmly received by the critics and the audience. In 2017, he released a recording of “Impressions for tuba” composed by André Waignien and recorded with the Orchestre Royal des Forces Aériennes Belges.
He is passionate about contemporary music, and many composers have dedicated pieces to him such as Richard Galliano (creation of Fables of Tuba – Victoire de la Musique Classique 2014), Vladimir Cosma, Claude Bolling, J. Ph. Vanbeselaere, but also Marc Steckar, André Waignien, Dominique Probst… He also created “Convergences” by J. Ph. Vanbeselaere, for solo tuba, contemporary music trio (guitar, bass guitar, battery) and symphonic orchestra.
“The tuba has found its Paganini ! As Jean-Pierre Rampal made the flute popular and Maurice André the trumpet, Thomas Leleu is currently the best tuba representative. He also proves that one can be a recognised tuba soloist”
— Frédéric Lodéon
Thomas also gives master classes in France and abroad: Hochschule Für Musik Hanns Heisler Berlin, Universität der Künste Berlin, Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart, Hochshule für Musik Würzburg, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSM), Tokyo Music College, Osaka Music College, Beijing Central Conservatory, Korea National University, Conservatorio de Barquisimeto (Venezuela), and in many conservatories in France, Belgium, Italy, Brazil, Argentin, Venezuela, China, South Korea, Taiwan etc…
Always looking to innovate, Thomas has founded several unique and unprecedented ensembles such as the “Thomas Leleu Sextet” (tuba and string quintet), “Tuba VS Cello” (tuba and cello) and his original show: “The Tuba’s Trip” staged by Claude Tissier and coproduced with the Marseille Opera. In 2018, he created the “Thomas Leleu Trio” tuba, vibraphone and piano).
In 2020/2021, he will perform at the Festival de Pâques d’Aix en Provence (France), Jazz à Vienne (France) invited by the bassist Marcus Miller, and will also tour in Asia, in the USA and in South America. His new album « Born to Groove » will be released in April 2021 (Nomad Music).
Since 2011 he is a “Melton Meinl/Weston Artist – Endorser Buffet Crampon“ and participated in the creation of the 2250 TL “ French Touch ” tuba which he currently plays.