Background

Experience

Ben Therrell (pronounced "THAIR-uhl") is the resident cellist of the Rabin String Quartet and a Doctoral Fellow at the Mead Witter School of Music in the Studio of Uri Vardi. He currently lives in Madison, WI.

He holds a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied with Brooks Whitehouse. While there, he was the resident cellist for the Giannini String Quartet, a preeminent graduate ensemble in the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute directed by Ida Bieler.

He has held a chair in the Fayetteville Symphony and has performed with many major orchestras in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Colorado including the Winston-Salem Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Boulder Symphony and others.

Ben has also played for and received feedback from noteworthy cellists such as David Finckel, Lynn Harrell, Timothy Eddy, Alan Harris, Rhonda Rider, Parry Karp, Wendy Warner, Antonio Lysy, Sarah Kim, Brant Taylor, Scott Kluksdahl, Alex Ezerman, Andrew Mark, Kim Cook, Jeff Lestrapes, and Mark Votapek.

Life

Ben started music the way all great musicians do: by learning recorder in 3rd grade. For some odd reason a beige plastic version of Ode to Joy didn’t really work for him though.

The summer after his 11th birthday, Ben joined a group class of beginning cellists and bassists. After a week or two, Ben’s teacher noticed that he was quickly outpacing the rest of the group. Many of the lessons eventually included one-on-one accelerated instruction. The language of music came more naturally to Ben than it did to those around him and his affinity for it quickly grew.

When his parents realized he was serious about this music thing, his mom sold her saxophone to buy Ben a cello that he still keeps with him today.

Ben has always explored adventurous musical projects, such as playing bass for an unnamed experimental Christian funk-metal screamo band. While living in New Mexico, he founded a cello-bass duo called Act Casual. After moving to North Carolina in 2015, Ben started an amplified violin-cello group called Elm Street Duo. He has written many original arrangements for these groups and has studied pop and rock music theory . Ben has also performed new music by acclaimed contemporary composers in the J D Robb Composer’s Symposium and with the Mead Witter Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Ben's original commissions include the soundtrack to a globally-nominated project in the 2017 NASA Hackathon.

As a member of the Boltz Collaborative Ensemble, Ben has received coaching from Terence Blanchard and performed with Eddie Barbash, a founding member of The Late Show's band Stay Human. Ben can be heard on the album Elegy for an Undiscovered Species by the Johannes Wallmann Jazz Quintet, published on Shifting Paradigm Records.

He has studied closely with David Schepps and Lisa Collins of the University of New Mexico (UNM), along with Tanya Carey and Susan Kempter, major Suzuki teacher trainers. At UNM, Ben received a dual emphasis Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and String Pedagogy.

Mr. Therrell is an enthusiastic and Suzuki-certified cello teacher. Previous positions include faculty at the UNCSA Community Music School, the UNM String Pedagogy Lab School and the New Mexico School of Music. He is currently based out of Madison, WI, where he and his wife Mandy raise their one-year-old daughter. For more information about Ben's teaching studio, click here.