As Director of the Division of Wind Band Studies and Professor of Conducting, Thomas Leslie has earned recognition for high quality performances of the UNLV Bands. During his tenure at UNLV, his bands have received critical acclaim from members of the international music world. Such notables include composers Malcolm Arnold, Bruce Broughton, Eric Whitacre and Frank Ticheli; United States Marine Band Conductor Emeritus Colonel John Bourgeois, (Ret.); Colonel Lowell Graham, Conductor United States Air Force Band, (Ret.); United States Navy Band Conductor Commander John Pastin (Ret.); Dr. Harry Begian, Director Emeritus, University of Illinois; Grammy Award winning recording artists Eric Marienthal, Jimmy Haslip, Will Kennedy, Bernie Dresel, Mitchel Forman and Russell Ferrante.
Recognized for a fresh, interpretative style among collegiate wind orchestras, Thomas Leslie and the UNLV Wind Orchestra continue to excel in their commitment to commission new works by the next generation of the world’s finest young composers. This ensemble, under Professor Leslie’s baton, has premiered numerous pieces commissioned by UNLV, Professor Leslie and the Wind Orchestra. Professor Leslie has conducted, and recorded twenty-one compact disc recordings with the UNLV Wind Orchestra. They are: 1994 – The UNLV Wind Symphony; Ghost Train; Gawd$illa Eats Las Vegas; It Takes a Village; Monkey; No Mo’ Chalumeau; Chunk (all title tracks commissioned by Thomas Leslie); BCM… Saves the World; Bandanna, the complete Daron Hagen opera; 3 Steps Forward, the premiere disc in the new UNLV Wind Orchestra Series for Klavier Recordings; Spiritual Planet; 4 Flew Over the Hornet’s Nest; The Quest; Vegas Maximus; Concerto for Marienthal; Marquee Mojo; Lost Vegas; Ventanas; The Return; and 24K Gould, and Quaternity the newest release in the collection. All of these recordings have received noteworthy acclaim in professional journals in addition to high praise from colleagues throughout the world.
An adjudicator and conductor throughout the United States, Professor Leslie has also been invited to conduct performances and clinics internationally in Australia, Austria ,Hungary, Ireland, Japan, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Canada. Under his direction, the UNLV Wind Orchestra has appeared as an invited performing group at the College Band Directors National Association Conference in March 1994, the Music Educators National Conference Biennial Convention in April 1998, the American Bandmasters Association National Convention in March 2001, and numerous state music educator conferences. The UNLV Wind Orchestra performed as the featured ensemble at the Hokkaido Band Association Clinic in Sapporo, Japan, in May 2002, and was featured in multiple performance tour at the La Croix Valmer International Music Festival in St, Tropez, France in June 2005 and June 2016. The UNLV College of Fine Arts awarded Professor Leslie the CFA Teacher of the Year Award in 2006.
Thomas Leslie received degrees in Music Education from The University of Iowa and Indiana State University. Elected in March of 2012, Professor Leslie served office as the 75th President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and currently serves as a member of the ABA Nominating Committee, the ABA Membership Committee and the ABA Past President’s Ad Hoc Committee. He was originally inducted to membership in 1997 and he hosted the National Convention of this very distinguished group in Las Vegas in March 2001. He continues to be a long-standing member of the College Band Directors National Association, and has served as Western Division Chair for the National Band Association. Professor Leslie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the John Philip Sousa Foundation.