Thomas Mesa

Thomas Mesa, Cuban-American cellist, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most charismatic and engaging performers of his generation with solo engagements across the United States.  Thomas is the Winner of the 2016 Sphinx CompetitionThaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013), and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition.  As a soloist, Thomas’ most recent past and present engagements 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.  His concerto engagements for this season and future seasons include The Cleveland Orchestra, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Firelands Symphony, and Elgin Symphony Orchestra

Most recently, Thomas was one of the featured instrumentalists on The Crossing Choir’s album called “Bonhoeffer” that was nominated for a Grammy.  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.  

As a chamber musician, Thomas has toured with Itzhak Perlman and Proteges both nationally and internationally and is a member of St. Petersburg Piano Quartet who are in high demand for the most important series across the nation.  St. Petersburg Piano Quartet has played sold out concerts at Barge Music, Doheny Mansion, Kohl Mansion, Music Mountain and countless other venues across the U.S. 

Thomas is in high demand as a 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 Manhattan School of Music where he teaches through the Long Distance Learning Program.  

Thomas has attended Summer festivals and institutes include 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’ extensive orchestral experience includes principal cellist for Northwestern Symphony Orchestra when he was not performing in their Contemporary Music Ensemble; Juilliard Orchestra and ensembles in New York; Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Boston; and principal cellist of 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.  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.  Thomas plays on a Richard Tobin cello dated 1826.