Thomas Mesa, Cuban-American cellist, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most charismatic and versatile performers of his generation with a wide variety of solo engagements across the United States. Thomas is a Winner of the Astral Artists Auditions (2017), the Sphinx Competition (2016), Thaviu Competition for String Performance (2013), and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition (2006). Concerto engagements for this season and future seasons include The Cleveland Orchestra, The LA Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Firelands Symphony, and Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Recent recital engagements, past and present, include the Mainly Mozart Festival, Nantucket Musical Arts Society, Bargemusic, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Columbia University, Carnegie Hall, The Supreme Court of The United States, The Heifetz Institute, Meadowmount School of Music, Strad for Lunch Series in NYC, International Beethoven Project, Perlman Music Program Alumni Recital as well as universities across the United States.
As an enthusiastic interpreter of music for choir and cello, Thomas was one of the featured instrumentalists on The Crossing Choir’s album called “Bonhoeffer” that was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017. Led by Donald Nally, this multiple award-winning ensemble has invited Thomas as the featured soloist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Longwood Gardens, The Winter Garden (broadcast on WNYC) and the Theological Seminary in New York City. Additionally, Thomas and The Crossing Choir collaborated on the American Premiere of “Astralis” (Choir and Solo Cello) composed by Wolfgang Rihm, one of the most important composers of this generation. [Thomas will perform again as soloist with a choir at the Washington National Cathedral in March, 2018.]
As a chamber musician, Thomas has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is a member of St. Petersburg Piano Quartet who are in high demand for the most important series in America. The quartet has played sold out concerts at Barge Music, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain, and Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. In other settings, he has collaborated with world-class artists such as Roger Tapping, Paul Katz, Andres Diaz, and Joseph Silverstein.
Thomas is in high demand as a teaching artist for his innate ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. Being a late starter on cello, Thomas had to learn to play the cello quickly and efficiently in order to catch up to his peers. Future and past masterclasses include institutions such as Northwestern University, DePaul University, U.C Berkeley, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Miami, Roosevelt University, and Meadowmount School of Music. Thomas has held faculty positions at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Montecito International Music Festival, St. Petersburg International Music Academy, The Mozart Academy at John Jay College in New York, and Manhattan School of Music where he currently teaches through the Long Distance Learning Program.
Thomas’ orchestral experience, and leadership experience, has been for the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and their Contemporary Music Ensemble. During his time in school, he performed under the batons of James Levine, Tan Dun, David Afkham, Alan Gilbert, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Ludovic Morlot, Franz Welser-Most, Joel Sachs, Benjamin Zander, Victor Yampolsky, Donald Nally, and Timothy J. Robblee.
Thomas is a graduate of The Juilliard School (B.M. 2012) where he received various scholarships; and Northwestern University (M.M. 2014) where he was the recipient of the Richard and Helen Thomas Fellowship and Graduate Program Honors for extraordinary contributions to the String Department. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he studies with Julia Lichten. His principal teachers have been Timothy Eddy, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Mark Churchill, Ross Harbaugh, and Wells Cunningham.