Originally from Aberdeen, Thomas Lessels studied clarinet at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Michael Harris and in Norway with Hans Christian Bræin. In 2006 he completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was taught by Angela Malsbury, Timothy Lines, Nicholas Rodwell, Michael Collins, and Richard Addison.
He is active in a wide variety of musical activities, not only in the UK but across Europe and with various ensembles. Tom has been the principal clarinettist of the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2004, performing throughout the world with such great conductors as Haitink, Järvi, Gardiner, Ashkenazy, Davis and Tortelier. He had been a member of the Zermatt Festival Academy and Chamber Orchestra since 2005, working with Scharoun Ensemble which is formed of members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Chamber music plays a large part in his musical life – he performs regularly with numerous ensembles including the Bozza Ensemble, and the EUYO Soloists whose forthcoming European tour includes performances in the Mozartsaal in the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Zurich Tonhalle. He performs regularly with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, most recently with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as part of a trial for Principal Clarinet.
He is principal clarinet of the Ossian Ensemble, Fellows in New Music at the Royal Academy of Music, with whom he performs regularly. He is deeply committed to the performance of new music and has performed countless premieres, and particularly enjoys working side-by-side with composers, who have included Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Thomas Ades, Jonathan Harvey, Colin Matthews and Rodion Shchedrin to name but a few.
He has won many prizes and awards including the Royal Academy of Music Clarinet Prize, the Harold Craxton Chamber Music Prize, the Leverhulme Award, a Countess of Munster Musical Trust award, a Martin/Philharmonia Musical Scholarship, Sir James Caird’s Travelling Scholarships Trust award and the Scottish International Educational Trust, to whom he is extremely grateful.