Thomas Demenga is one of those rare multitalented artists on the international scene, a versatile musician who as a cellist has achieved acclaim for both his solo and chamber music activities, and as a composer who has written a small but significant output for cello, including cadenzas for two Haydn cello concertos. In addition, he has taught cello for many years at the Basel Hochschule für Musik. While Demenga may not possess a household name, he has collaborated with such conductors as Charles Dutoit, Armin Jordan, Claus Peter Flor, and Mstislav Rostropovich and performed with some of the leading orchestras in the world including the Boston Symphony, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Berlin Symphony, and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. He has also collaborated in chamber performance with such renowned artists as Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, and Paul Meyer. Demenga's repertory takes in a range reaching from Baroque to present-day, with special focus on the works of J.S. Bach, Schubert, and on contemporary composers like Elliott Carter, Toshio Hosokawa, Giya Kancheli, and Thomas Larcher. Demenga has built a discography of more than 20 recordings, available on several labels, including ECM, DG, and Philips.
Thomas Demenga was born in Berne, Switzerland, in 1954. He studied at Juilliard with Robert Mann, Claus Adam, and Felix Galimir. Other teachers included Walter Grimmer, Antonio Janigro, Leonard Rose, and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Demenga launched his career in the late '70s, and from 1980 he began teaching at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel, Switzerland. 1980 was also the year of his first composition, Cellorganics I-IV, for cello and organ. Demenga recorded the work and ECM released an LP and CD the following year. Other compositions would soon follow, including Hand made (1986). Throughout the 1990s and into the new century, Demenga remained active in all phases of his career, especially in the recording studio, where he turned out a spate of CDs for ECM of mostly Baroque and modern fare.
Demenga was appointed composer-in-residence at the 2000 Davos Festival. He also served as that yearly event's artistic director until 2006. In 2007 Demenga went on a highly acclaimed tour throughout Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Demenga was appointed composer-in-residence for the Orchestra de Chambre de Lausanne during the 2007-2008 concert season. Among his later recordings is the 2006 ECM CD Chonguri, a collection of short pieces by J.S. Bach, Fauré, Liszt, Chopin, and others.