François Leleux

Guest Leader, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Recognised throughout the world as the best oboist of his generation, François Leleux enjoys an international career appearing with major orchestras and at important venues and festivals performing repertoire from Baroque to newly commissioned works. Recent and upcoming engagements include concerto appearances with the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Orchestra National de Lyon with Jun Märkl, Danish National Symphony Orchestra with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Tonkünstler Orchestra with Andres Orozco-Estrada, Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Vladimir Ashkenazy, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding and the Mozarteum Salzburg with Robin Ticciati.

Francois Leleux returns to Verbier Festival

20 Jul 2015

This week Francois Leleux returns to the Verbier Festival to perform 2 chamber music concerts (23 and 26 July) with some of his regular...

Francois Leleux debuts with the New York Philharmonic

08 Apr 2015

Francois Leleux will make his debut with the New York Philharmonic under...

Francois Leleux completes season as Artist in Residence at the Lammermuir Festival

02 Oct 2014

Francois Leleux completed a fantastic season as Artist in Residence at the Lammermuir Festival last month, performing in recital, as well as alongside the Hebrides Ensemble and soloists from the...

François Leleux returns to Vienna - Mozart!

09 Apr 2013

François Leleux returns to Vienna's Musikverein on 12 and14 April to perform...

François Leleux: On Tour

25 Feb 2013

A regular visitor to the Vienna Konzerthaus, François Leleux returns for 2 performances of the Mozart...

Leleux: Mozart and MacMillan

15 Jan 2013

François Leleux makes his first appearance as Artist in Association with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris performing Mozart and MacMillan under conductor Thomas Dausgaard.

Francois Leleux debuts in Hong Kong

16 Nov 2012

Francois Leleux will make his first concerto appearance in Hong Kong on 20 October performing concertos by Strauss and...

François Leleux on tour with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

21 Mar 2011

François Leleux embarks on a four date tour this month with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. The tour runs from 20 to 26 March and encompasses concerts at...

Danish press shower François Leleux with praise after concert with Danish National Symphony Orchestra

11 Feb 2011

After his recent performance with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra at DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen François Leleux has received rave reviews from the Danish press.  News website KPN.DK...

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“…there were certainly wonders in François Leleux’ account with the CBSO of the autumnal, delicious Oboe Concerto by Richard Strauss. His phrasing was mellifluous, and as open-air as the composer’s beloved Bavarian Alps; interchanges with orchestral soloists were sparkling and well dovetailed;…flourishes danced as though from panpipes, and he painted piquant shades of colour.”

Birmingham Post - Nov 2014

“The terrific French oboist Francois Leleux was artist in residence at this year’s Lammermuir Festival, and he used the opportunity to explore repertoire from Bach to Berio. He is a fearless, flawless player (during this recital he breezily turned pages with one hand while playing with the other). His sound is plush and enormous. It would be a treat to hear him in just about any music. That said, his choice of an arrangement of Mozart’s great ‘Gran Partita’ serenade was bizarre. He led the Hebrides Ensemble in a reduction for oboe, string trio and piano made by a contemporary of Mozart called Christian Schwenke, presumably to suit a combination of instruments available at the time. Why play it now? The Gran Partita is a glorious piece of wind writing full of weird and wonderful colours: that squeezebox gaggle of basset horns, that lavishly dark, buzzy combination of bassoons and horns. Inevitably Schwenke channelled much of the orchestration into the piano part, which even in Philip Moore’s classy hands sounded like the filler it is. There was some fine playing (and some ropey playing) in this performance, but it never came close to the majesty of the original. Where was the textural magic at the beginning of the Adagio? Where was the playful spark in the Theme and Variations? Without the intriguing instrumental pairings the minuets felt long – and the Gran Partita should never feel long. The programme opened with Oliver Knussen’s short Cantata for oboe and string trio. This is gorgeous writing, and very vocal. Leleux’s lines were rhapsodic, then passionately agitated, then a puckish, crazed dance, then a soaring voice against pale, lapping strings. The closing bars are classic Knussen atmosphere, beautifully evoked here.”

The Herald, Scotland - Oct 2014

“ François Leleux ... is quite a magical performer. His sonority is totally enchanting, his virtuosity limitless and flows so naturally from its source that one is no longer aware of all the hard work that preceded it. Whether it is in the flowery virtuoso pranks of Pasculli or the elegance, lyricism and joie de vivre of Mozart's concerto, Leleux's commitment is irresistible. Standing at the side of the conductor, he spices his playing with an appropriate dose of showiness and wit, knowing exactly how far to go. Yet as his rendition of the Mozart C major concerto proved, he is also a sensitive artist, a subtle colorist, dialoguing and blending his instrument with the orchestral textures to ravishing effect – with Fischer and the Budapest strings offering the most sympathetic accompaniment. The tender melancholy of Mozart's Andante ma non troppo was as compellingly rendered as the three dazzling cadenzas. An enraptured audience was rewarded by Leleux with an Air from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.”

Classical Net - Mar 2013

“Leleux's sound is simply gorgeous, his high register breathtaking, and he reeled off MacMillan's torrents of notes in vivid shapes...”

The Guardian - Feb 2013

“Leleux's performance was mesmerising, colouring the slow movement with a cool hint of reflective introspection, only to be thrown instantly aside by the clownish thrills and spills of the finale. His exquisite Gluck encore sealed the deal...”

The Scotsman - Feb 2013

“There was much power in his tone and so much energy and drive in Leleux’s dancing movements, he probably could have conducted the orchestra and performed as a soloist at the same time. Each note had clarity and brilliance, and trills jumped like shining pearls from the instrument. Leleux was singing the musical phrases with the oboe in all corners of the hall. He was in front of the beat and drove the orchestra with him in the faster outer movements. The solo cadenzas stood as lyrical fantasies, where Leleux made time stand still and painted melodies with both delicate and sharp colours.”

KPN.DK (Concert with Danish National Symphony Orchestra at DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen) - Feb 2011

“The elegance and vivacity of Francois Leleux’ oboe playing and the fresh, bright sound of Camerata Salzburg dazzle through Mozart’s Rondo in C, Oboe concerto and the transcription for the Flute Concerto.”

The Independent (CD Review: Mozart / Sony (Aug 2008)) - Dec 2008

“…[François Leleux is] a star act. Here was phenomenal skill and personality, displayed across a vast range of colours and dynamics, delivered with winking wit through an oboe constantly circling the air.”

The Times

“This adroit teaming of first-rate chamber musicians, led by husband and wife Francois Leleux and Lisa Batiashvili, makes for an exceptional disc which brims with treats, such as an elegant Mozart oboe quartet K370 and a beautifully realised, dark and creamy adagio K580a.”

The Observer - May 2007

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Recognised throughout the world as the best oboist of his generation, François Leleux enjoys an international career appearing with major orchestras and at important venues and festivals performing repertoire from the baroque to newly commissioned works. François has appeared at the Berlin Philharmonie with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Vienna Musikverein with Tonkünstler Orchester, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with Orchestre National de France, at the Sydney Opera House with Sydney Symphony, at Bunkamura with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and at the Lincoln Center as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival and at Concertgebouw with Netherlands Radio Chamber orchestra  He has worked with leading conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Mariss Jansons, Sir Colin Davis, Myung-whun Chung, Daniel Harding, Thomas Dausgaard, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Alan Gilbert.

For the 2014/15 season, Francois is guest leader of Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, which will involves curating and leading three concert projects as well as an appearance at the Risor Festival. He will also return to Lammermuir Festival as artist-in-residence, performing with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Hebrides Ensemble and soloists from Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He will make return appearances as conductor-soloist with Munich Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Gavle Symfoniorkester and Camerata Salzburg, including a tour to China. Francois will appear for the first time this season with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Collon to perform the Strauss Concerto. In December 2014, François will premiere Thierry Escaich’s concerto for violin and oboe with his wife, violinist Lisa Batiashvili and NDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Alan Gilbert. He and Lisa will then premiere the work in North America, with New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert in April 2015.

For seasons 2012-14, François was Artist in Association with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. Last season Francois performed as soloist with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fischer, Seoul Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg (at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg), Tonkunstler Orchestra (for play-conduct concerts as well as at the Grafenegg Festival), as well as concerts at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées and the Mozartfest Würzburg Orchestre de chambre de Paris. He also performed with the Hebrides Ensemble at the Lammermuir and Styriate Festivals, with Lisa Batiashvili and Friends at the Salzburg Festival and the Prinsengracht Concert in Amsterdam and toured with the with all-star wind sextet Les Vents Français.

François has a commitment to expanding the oboe’s repertoire, and has had many new works commissioned for him by composers such as Nicolas Bacri, Thierry Pécou, Gilles Silvestrini, Eric Tanguy, Thierry Escaich, Giya Kancheli and Michael Jarrell.  In 2012/2013, he gave the Scottish and French premieres of MacMillan’s Oboe Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Orchestre de chambre de Paris respectively. In 2010 he premiered a new concerto titled The Enchanter written by Albert Schnelzer, jointly commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The work received warm praise in the press with one critic writing, “His concerto held me gripped…The “Enchanter” of the title is Leleux himself, and it’s a fitting tribute to his spellbinding playing. He turned the oboe into a multi-dimensional character, singing, dancing and leaping through his music.” François has also made his own transcriptions of arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte which he has recorded with Camerata Salzburg for Sony.

Alongside appearances as a soloist, François also devotes time to play-conduct engagements, working with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker and Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Orchestre national de Lyon and Tonkunstler Orchestra among others.

François is a dedicated chamber musician, performing regularly all over the world with octet Ensemble Paris-Bastille and sextet Les Vents Français. Regular recital partners include harpist Isabelle Moretti, violinist Lisa Batiashvili and pianists Emmanuel Strosser and Eric Le Sage.

François has recorded several CDs for SONY Classical. Releases have included  – J.S.Bach with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Mozart with Camerata Salzburg, Strauss’s Oboe Concerto recorded with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding and Serenade for Winds performed with the ensemble Paris Bastille and The Charm of the Oboe - recorded with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, will featuring concerti by Cimarosa, Bellini, Marcello, Vivaldi, Glück and Pasculli. The next release on Sony will include works by Hummel and Haydn, recorded with Munich Chamber Orchestra.

François Leleux is a Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.

July 2015