Feb 24: Mesa-Yakushev Duo: Intimate Classics | Center for the Arts, Escondido Skip Navigation

Mesa-Yakushev Duo: Intimate Classics
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Mesa-Yakushev Duo: Intimate Classics

Presented by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Generously sponsored by Mrs. Lois Brossart.

Venue: Center Theater


* Fees will be assessed on phone and online orders. Learn more...

Thomas Mesa

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.

Ilya Yakushev

“Mr. Yakushev can just do about anything he wants.”
 — The New York Times

“TOP 10 CLASSICAL MUSIC EVENTS OF THE YEAR – The young Russian pianist made an astounding triple debut as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s Prokofiev Festival, playing the First Concerto, the Fourth Concerto and the Seventh Sonata with vigor and virtuosity.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev, with many awards and honors to his credit, continues to astound and mesmerize audiences at major venues on three continents.

He has performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (New York); Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco); Glinka Philharmonic Hall in his native St. Petersburg, Russia; Victoria Hall (Singapore); and Sejong Performing Arts Center (Seoul, South Korea), among countless others. He has performed with orchestra including the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, Boston Pops, Rochester Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, and many others.

This season, Ilya appears as piano soloist with the symphony orchestras of New Haven, El Paso, Dubuque, La Crosse, Lake Forest, and the Glacier Symphony. He performed at several prestigious summer music festivals in 2016, including Maverick Concerts (NY), Bellingham Festival of Music (WA), Summer Music from Greensboro (VT), and International Keyboard Institute & Festival (New York City), and played recitals in Worcester, MA and Lee University (Cleveland, TN).

Highlights of Yakushev’s 2015-16 season included a return engagement with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as performances with the Reading and Fairfield County Symphonies. He also played recitals in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and New York.

Thomas Mesa, Cello
Ilya Yakushev, Piano


Peteris Vasks (b.1946)

Grāmata čellam / The Book for solo cello (1978)

  1. Pianissimo (Dolcissimo)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

7 Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” WoO 46


Claude Debussy (1862-1918) arr. Julian Lloyd Weber

Beau Soir


Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

5 Stücke im Volkston (5 Pieces in the Folk Style)

  1. Mit Humor ‘Vanitas vanitatum’
  2. Langsam
  3. Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen
  4. Nicht zu rasch
  5. Stark und markiert


Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Sentimental Waltz, Op.51 No.6



Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19

Lento – Allegro moderato

Allegro scherzando


Allegro mosso

Buy Tickets

Buy tickets online (below), or at the Center ticket office, or by calling 800.988.4253. The ticket office is open Tue. – Sat. 12–6 PM, and Sun. 12–5 PM.

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