Antonio Meneses was born in 1957 in Recife, into a family of musicians (his father was the Principal Horn of the Rio de Janeiro Opera). He began studying the cello at the age of ten, and at sixteen, he met the famous Italian cellist Antonio Janigro, who invited him to attend his classes in Düsseldorf and later in Stuttgart. In 1977, he won the 1st Prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, and in 1982, he received the 1st Prize and Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
He regularly performs with some of the world's most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C.), and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, among others. He has collaborated with distinguished conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Muti, Mariss Jansons, Claudio Abbado, André Previn, Andrew Davis, Semion Bychkov, Herbert Blomstedt, Gerd Albrecht, Yuri Temirkanov, Kurt Sanderling, Neeme Järvi, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, and Riccardo Chailly.
Meneses is also a regular guest at major music festivals, including the Pablo Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Vienna Festival, Berlin Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Mostly Mozart (NYC), La Grange de Meslay (Sviatoslav Richter Festival in France), and Colmar (Vladimir Spivakov Festival in France). He frequently performs in chamber music recitals and has collaborated with quartets such as the Emerson Quartet, Vermeer Quartet, Amati Quartet, and Carmina Quartet. In addition, he was a member of the Beaux-Arts Trio from 1998 to 2008.
He has recorded two albums for Deutsche Grammophon with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic: Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, with Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Richard Strauss' Don Quixote. He has also recorded Eugene D'Albert's Cello Concerto and works by David Popper with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Carl Philip Emanuel Bach's three Cello Concertos with the Munich Chamber Orchestra (Pan Classics), Johann Sebastian Bach's six Cello Suites (Nippon Phonogram), Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio (EMI-Angel), Heitor Villa-Lobos' Cello Concertos and Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra (Auvidis-France), Villa-Lobos' complete works for cello and piano with Cristina Ortiz, "Cellisimo" (Pan Classics) with Gérard Wyss, Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Cello Suites (AVIE), works by Schumann and Schubert with Gérard Wyss on piano (AVIE), works by Schuman with Maria João Pires, and a commemorative CD for his 60th birthday in 2017 with Brazilian pianist André Mehmari.
In addition to his concert schedule, he teaches master classes in Europe, the Americas, and Japan and has been a professor of cello at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, Switzerland, since 2007. He also conducts monthly master classes at the Stauffer Academy in Cremona, Italy.
Antonio Meneses usually plays a cello by Matteo Goffriller, built around 1710 in Venice, and on special occasions, he plays a cello by Filippo Fasser and a Baroque cello with 4 or 5 strings built by Fabrice Girardin.