Ilya Yakushev & Thomas Mesa
Classical Piano and Cello Duo
|Thomas Mesa (cello) Ilya Yakushev
Two world-class soloists combine for a powerhouse duo with
international flair. Ilya Yakushev is known for his musical
pyrotechnics on the piano and Thomas Mesa is heralded as one of the
most charismatic and engaging cellists of his generation.
The brilliant young Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa is quickly
establishing himself as one of the most charismatic and engaging
performers of his generation. Mr. Mesa was the winner of the $50,000
First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition; the Thaviu Competition
for String Performance (Chicago); and the Alhambra Orchestra
Concerto Competition. He performed Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations
with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl for over
30,000 audience members, and his performance with the Cleveland
Orchestra received this rave review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to
distinguish [Mesa's] shapely, expressive performance from that of
another gifted artist two or three times his age."
Recordings in progress include the piano and cello music of Brahms
and Beethoven; a whole album dedicated to the music of Debussy; and
a special project in collaboration with PARMA Recordings in a "Call
for Scores" that will bring together and record new works for solo
cello and cello/piano. This project will include an album release
concert at The DiMenna Center in New York City and the album will be
available on all commercial streaming platforms.
As a ensemble musician, Mr. Mesa tours with the Orpheus Chamber
Orchestra and is the principal cellist of Sphinx Virtuosi. As a
driving force in the latter orchestra, Thomas has been featured as
soloist on tour in Dance for a New Day by jazz trumpeter-composer
Terence Blanchard. The Sphinx Organization, In conjunction with
Carnegie Hall and the New World Symphony, has also commissioned for
Mesa a solo concerto by Jessie Montgomery to be toured in 2020.
Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev, with many awards and honors to his
credit, continues to astound and mesmerize audiences at major venues
on three continents. The New York Times raved, "In Familiar Music, a
Pianist Shows What He Can Do [HEADLINE]: Mr. Yakushev can do just
about anything he wants . . . superb." Another review in the Times
called Yakushev "little short of heroic." And the San Francisco
Chronicle called his performance of three Prokofiev concertos on a
single program with the San Francisco Symphony "one of the Top 10
Classical Music Events of the Year . . . an astounding triple
Winner of the 2005 World Piano Competition which took place in
Cincinnati, OH, Mr. Yakushev received his first award at age 12 as a
prizewinner of the Young Artists Concerto Competition in his native
St. Petersburg. In 1997, he received the Mayor of St. Petersburg's
Young Talents award, and in both 1997 and 1998, he won First Prize
at the Donostia Hiria International Piano Competition in San
Sebastian, Spain. In 1998, he received a national honor, The Award
for Excellence in Performance, presented to him by the Minister of
Culture of the Russian Federation in Moscow. Most recently, Mr.
Yakushev became a recipient of the prestigious Gawon International
Music Society’s Award in Seoul, Korea.
Mr. Yakushev attended the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in his
native St. Petersburg, Russia, and subsequently came to New York
City to attend Mannes College of Music, where he studied with
legendary pianist Vladimir Feltsman.
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