Thomas Mesa biography

“As a Cellist, it’s not enough to play well, you need to engage your audience and show them who the composer is through your ideas and convictions….”


one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation

Thomas Mesa, Cuban-American cellist, has established himself as one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation.  He was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition and the Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions.  He has appeared as soloist at the Supreme Court of the United States on three occasions and with major orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, The Cleveland Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

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. 

[Link to Concert Schedule]

As a recording artist, Thomas will be releasing two albums of new music for solo cello and cello/piano.  The first is called Division of Memory that will be released on October 9th, 2021.  The second is a duo album with Michelle Cann, piano soloist and faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music.  

[Link to Discography]

Recently, Thomas was the featured cover story on Strings Magazine, September/October, 2020 

In the Fall of 2021, Thomas will be the cello professor at The Conservatory of Music at Purchase College (SUNY)


As a recitalist, Thomas has been featured at the Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami, The Academy of Arts and Letters, Bargemusic, University of Miami’s Signature Series, Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Columbia University, Flagler Museum, Carnegie Hall, three appearances at the U.S. Supreme Court, guest artist at The Heifetz Institute, California Center for the Arts, Meadowmount School of Music, Strad for Lunch Series, International Beethoven Project, Perlman Music Program Alumni Recital, and major universities across the United States.  

As a recording artist, Thomas has multiple projects in collaboration with PARMA Recordings, including two albums to be released in 2021 and 2022 on all streaming platforms.  Thomas was featured on the GRAMMY-nominated album, “Bonhoeffer,” with the multiple GRAMMY winning group, The Crossing Choir.  He has appeared with them as soloist at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, Longwood Gardens, The Winter Garden, and the Theological Seminary in NYC.  Thomas and The Crossing Choir have also collaborated on the U.S. premiere of “Astralis” for choir and solo cello by renowned composer Wolfgang Rihm and have more collaborations/premieres scheduled for future seasons.  

Thomas Mesa cellist biography
Thomas Mesa Cellist An Ensemble Musician

“As a late starter, I needed to become a cello scientist to catch up. This is why I love teaching…”

Chamber Musician and Teacher

As an ensemble musician, Thomas has been on tours with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is the principal cellist of Sphinx Virtuosi who play every year on tour at almost every major venue across the United States.  He is also the cellist of the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet, collaborates with Jupiter Chamber Players, and has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally. 

Starting in the Fall of 2021, Thomas will be the cello professor at Purchase Conservatory of Music (SUNY).  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 that was made in 1820.  This cello was used to record soundtracks for the first movies ever created.