The young Cuban-American cellist THOMAS MESA is quickly establishing himself as one of the most charismatic and engaging performers of his generation. Thomas was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition, the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013); and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition.
Recent and upcoming concerto engagements include the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (Tchaikovsky Rococco Variations) and the Cleveland Orchestra (Dvorák Cello Concerto).
Other recent appearances include the Mainly Mozart Festival, Bargemusic, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Columbia University, Carnegie Hall, The Supreme Court of The United States, The Heifetz Institute (guest artist), 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.
Most recently, Thomas was one of the featured instrumentalists on The Crossing Choir’s album, “Bonhoeffer,” which was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award. Led by Donald Nally, this multiple award-winning ensemble 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” for choir and solo cello, composed by Wolfgang Rihm, one of tthis generation’s most important composers.
As a chamber musician, Thomas has toured with Itzhak Perlman and Protegés both nationally and internationally. He is a member of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, which is are in high demand for the most important series across the nation, having played sold out concerts at Barge Music, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain and numerous other venues across the U.S.
Thomas is a sought-after teaching artist for his innate ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. Future and past masterclasses include institutions such as U.C Berkeley, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, University of Miami, 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 the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches through the Long Distance Learning Program.
Thomas has attended summer festivals and institutes including the Perlman Chamber Workshop (with additional residencies in Stowe, Vermont), Heifetz International Music Institute, Banff Masterclasses, Kronberg Academy, Royal Danish Academy Masterclasses, Aspen Music Festival, and Kneisel Hall.
Thomas has been principal cellist of the Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble, Juilliard Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Boston, and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. He has 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. He is currently 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. Thomas plays a Richard Tobin cello dated 1826.