The Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa has established himself as one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation.
Mr. Mesa was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition; the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013); The Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions; and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and Mexico, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Santa Barbara Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra which received this rave review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to distinguish [Mesa’s] shapely, expressive performance from that of another gifted artist two or three times his age.”
Highlights in the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 Seasons include curating and performing as soloist with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, soloist with Sphinx Virtuosi touring at major venues across the U.S. with Jessie Montgomery’s Divided for solo cello and orchestra, Andrea Casarrubios’s SEVEN for solo cello, and a 30-venue recital tour with duo partner and pianist, Ilya Yakushev. These tours will include places such as Carnegie Hall, the MET Museum, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Colburn School of Music, Kohler Foundation, and many more.
As a recording artist, Thomas has released an album of new music for solo cello and cello/piano entitled Division of Memory. His second, set to begin production this Spring, is a duo album with Michelle Cann, piano soloist and faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music.
As an ensemble musician, Mr. Mesa is touring with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is the principal cellist of Sphinx Virtuosi who have played at almost every major venue across the United States. As a driving force in Sphinx Virtuosi, Thomas has been featured on tour in double concerti for the last couple years and in conjunction with the Sphinx Organization, Carnegie hall, and New World Symphony, has commissioned a solo concerto by Jessie Montgomery to be toured in 2020. He has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is the cellist of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, which in high demand, having played sold-out concerts at Barge Music, Bard Festival, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain and numerous other venues across the U.S.
He is a sought-after educator for his ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. He has given masterclasses at institutions such as U.C Berkeley, Boston Conservatory, Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Miami, Meadowmount School of Music, Walnut Hill School and has held faculty positions at Sphinx Performance Academy, The Heifetz Institute’s PEG Program, Music Mountain Festival and School, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Montecito International Music Festival, St. Petersburg International Music Academy, The Mozart Academy at John Jay College in New York City.
Thomas Mesa received his BM from The Juilliard School, MM from Northwestern University, and is a doctoral candidate at Manhattan School of Music. His principal teachers were Timothy Eddy, Julia Lichten, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Mark Churchill, Ross Harbaugh, and Wells Cunningham. He has played a gorgeous cello for ten years made by Richard Tobin in 1820. This cello was used to record soundtracks for the first movies ever created.
Thomas Mesa appears by arrangement with Sphinx Organization, which is focused on increasing representation of Black and Latinx artists in classical music and recognizing excellence, Sphinx programs serve beginner students to seasoned classical music professionals, as well as cultural entrepreneurs and administrators.