Born in Naoussa, Greece, Thanos Mitsalas has been recognized as one of the leading virtuosos of his generation. His rich musicianship and perfectionism have credited him with the highest praise from audiences and critics. It is his intense musical intuition, flawless technique, and personal style in his interpretations that captivates the audience.
Thanos began music lessons at The New Conservatory of Thessaloniki where he graduated with the highest honors (1989), supervised by the eminent guitar soloist and professor Costas Cotsiolis. He attended post-graduate studies at the Hochschule fur Music Cologne/Aachen with professor Thomas Muller Pering (graduating in 1994 with highest honors) and finally at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York with professor Sharon Isbin, where he received a full scholarship and was evaluated as one of its most brilliant talents.
Thanos recorded a complete solo recital for the Greek National Radio Television Network at age fourteen and made his debut as an orchestral soloist at the same age. His international debut came two years later in Poland where he was the youngest prize winner in the history of the Silesian Guitar Autumn Contest (2nd prize and Special Prize). At that time, he performed Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez with such brilliancy that critics and specialists praised him as one of the leading guitarists among his peers. In 1990, Thanos was again the youngest winner in the history of the Carrefour Mondial de la Guitare Competition in Martinique (France). He won several other prizes and distinctions at important international contests such as Stotsenberg (Parkening) International Guitar Competition (USA), Volos International Guitar Competition (Greece), and Sinaia International Guitar Competition (Romania). Thanos was awarded Musician of the Year in 1988 from the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki and received the Dimitris Sgouros Scholarship. He also won the prestigious Greek Scholarship Foundation’s fellowship, and the Robert Nelson Scholarship (USA) during his post-graduate studies.
Thanos has performed as a soloist with European Symphony Orchestras and ensembles such as the Silesian Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Music Academy ‘Franz Liszt’-Budapest, Symphony Orchestra of Zabrze, Sofia String Quartet, State Symphony Orchestra of Thessaloniki, and the Thessaloniki Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Hall in New York, Hancock Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Queen's Grand Theatre of Zhengzhou, China, Teatro Comico Principal de Cordoba, and Athens Concert Hall and Thessaloniki Concert Hall in Greece. He has taught courses and served as a jury member in several international guitar competitions, and frequently performs in important guitar festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival (USA), Carrefour Mondial de la Guitar (Martinique), Volos-Naxos International Guitar Festival (Greece), Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Monterrey (Μexico), Gliwice International Guitar Festival (Poland), Festival de Cordoba (Spain), Thessaloniki Megaron of Music International Guitar Festival (Greece), ArtFest of AUBG (Bulgaria), Sinaia International Guitar Festival (Romania), Goche Delchef International Guitar Festival (Bulgaria), Rhodes International Music Festival (Greece), and Thessaloniki International Guitar Festival.
Since 2008, he has intensively devoted himself to the music of the great Brazilian guitarist and composer Sergio Assad. Thanos has recorded four albums of solo and chamber works by Assad and presented the world premieres of of Concerto Fantasia “Mikis” for Guitar and Strings, Eli's Portrait, and Sandy's Portrait. Thanos’s recent interpretation of Assad’s Fantasia Carioca (from the CD “Thanos Mitsalas plays music by Sergio Assad” - ClearNote 2009) is recommended in Enrique Robichaud’s book Guitar’s Top 100.
Thanos has received outstanding reviews for his five CDs released by the American label ClearNote. His recordings include works by J.S.Bach, N.D'Angelo, C.Domeniconi, E.Gismonti, S.Iannarelli, L.Legnani, M.Llobet, A.Piazzolla, A.Tansman, F.Tarrega, M.C.Tedesco, J.Rodrigo, G.Regondi and A.York. In addition to his performing activities, Thanos teaches at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, and as a guest professor at many international music festivals, music schools-universities or summer music academies.
Thanos is a D’Addario Artist/Ambassador. He uses EJ46FF Pro-Arte (Dyna/Carbon) strings on his 1999 Thomas Humphrey Guitar (Millenniun Model/Spruce-top).