Thomas Demenga, born 1954 in Berne, Switzerland, studied with Walter Grimmer, Antonio Janigro, Leonard Rose and Mstislav Rostropovich, among others. Important chamber-musical influences were Claus Adam, Felix Galimir and Robert Mann at the Juilliard School in New York.
As an internationally renowned soloist, composer and teacher, Thomas Demenga counts among the most outstanding cellists and musicians of our time. He has performed at important festivals and musical centres around the globe and shared the stage with fellow musicians such as Heinz Holliger, Gidon Kremer, Thomas Larcher, Paul Meyer, Aurele Nicolet, Hansheinz Schneeberger, Thomas Zehetmair and Tabea Zimmermann. He works with conductors such as Moshe Atzmon, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Claus Peter Flor, Howard Griffiths, Heinz Holliger, Armon Jordan, Okko Kamu, Mstislav Rostropovich, Dennis Russell Davies, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Sandor Vegh, Mario Venzago, and Hiroshi Wakasugi. As a soloist he has collaborated with, among others, the following orchestras: Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, Berner Symphonie Orchester, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Kammerorchester Basel, L'Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, ORF-Symphonieorchester Wien, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Sinfonietta Basel, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, Westdeutsches Rundfunk Symphonie-Orchester, and Zurcher Kammerorchester.
Thomas Demenga's artistic work is determined by intensive confron-tation with different historical eras and styles of interpretation and composition. He dedicates himself with particular intensity to New Music and is also active as an improviser. Thus his individual voice as a composer and interpreter of 20th and 21st century works (among them important premieres) gives a new and complementary dimension to both the historical performance practice of baroque music and his virtuoso interpretations of the classical and romantic repertoire. In 1991 he was the first Swiss composer to be awarded first prize for his composition "solo per due" by the congress of the "Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs".
Since 1980 Thomas Demenga has led a class for students and soloists at the Hochschule fur Musik in Basel.
In August 2000 he was composer-in-residence at the Davos Festival, "Young Artists in Concert", and was subsequently appointed artistic director of the festival. In 2006 he gave up this position in order to commit himself fully to performing and composing again.
In the Lucerne Festival in summer 2003, Thomas Demenga participated as "artiste etoile", succeeding Sabine Meyer (2000), Anne-Sophie Mutter (2001) and Alfred Brendel (2002), Thomas Quasthoff (2004), Christian Tetzlaff (2005) and Emanuel Pahud (2006).
Born in Berne, Switzerland, Thomas Demenga studied with Walter Grimmer, Antonio Janigro, Leonard Rose and Mstislav Rostropovich and received important stimuli in chamber music from Claus Adam, Felix Galimir and Robert Mann at the Juilliard School in New York. After taking prizes at competitions in Geneva and New York, he launched an international career that has brought him into contact with the leading conductors and musicians of our day, both in solo appearances and in chamber music recitals. Today he teaches at the Basle Musikhochschule, serves as artistic director of the Davos International Music Festival and was appointed "artiste etoile" at the Lucerne Summer Festival in 2003. His versatility as a cellist is matched by his individual voice as a composer. In 1991 he was awarded the first prize at the Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs for his "solo per due".
Demenga's artistic work is distinguished by his intensive confrontation with wide-ranging stylistic periods. This breadth has found expression in his work for ECM, as in his recording of the Bach cello suites, in which he also juxtaposed pieces by Heinz Holliger, Elliott Carter, Sandor Veress, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Isang Yun and Toshio Hosokawa. He has recorded works by Franz Schubert, Dmitri Shostakovich, Arvo Part, Thomas Larcher and Heinz Reber for ECM's New Series and contributed performances of Witold Lutoslawski, Luciano Berio, Benjamin Britten, Pierre Boulez and others to the complete recording of "12 Hommages a Paul Sacher." Together with his brother Patrick Demenga, he recorded the CD "Lux aeterna" with pieces for two cellos by Alexander Knaifel, Jean Barriere, Roland Moser and Barry Guy, as well as his own composition "Duo? o, Du...".