The young Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa won the 2016 Sphinx Competition $50,000 First Prize, and recently performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for over 30,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl in the orchestra's annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular. He also recently performed as soloist with the Cleveland Symphony and in numerous solo and chamber appearances in New York City (Carnegie/Weill Recital Hall, Rockefeller University); Chicago (Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts); the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Heifetz Institute, the Perlman Music Program, Meadowmount, the International Beethoven Project, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Quickly becoming recognized as one of the most charismatic and engaging young artists of his generation, Thomas also won the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago) and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition (Miami).
Thomas has toured with Itzhak Perlman and Protegés both nationally and internationally. As a member of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, he played sold-out concerts at Barge Music (New York City), the Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Music Mountain and numerous other venues across the U.S. He was featured on the 2017 GRAMMY-nominated album, “Bonhoeffer,” by The Crossing choir, and appeared with this multiple award-winning ensemble at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and other venues. His regular duo partner is the acclaimed Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev.
Thomas is a highly sought-after educator with the ability to connect with students and teach them to teach themselves. He has given masterclasses at University of California-Berkeley, DePaul University, Northwestern University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Miami, and Meadowmount School of Music. He 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.
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, Alan Gilbert, Bramwell Tovey, Tan Dun, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Ludovic Morlot, Franz Welser-Most, Joel Sachs, Benjamin Zander, Victor Yampolsky, David Afkham, Donald Nally, and Timothy Robblee.
Thomas is a graduate of Juilliard (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 include Timothy Eddy, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Mark Churchill, Ross Harbaugh, and Wells Cunningham. Thomas plays a Richard Tobin cello dated 1826.