Meet the Cello Studio

Meet the Cello Studio

Students in the UNCSA Cello Studio range from high school to graduate-level studies. The studio is led by Dr. Brooks Whitehouse

Brooks Whitehouse

Brooks WhitehouseDr. Whitehouse is the Professor of Cello at UNCSA. He has previously held faculty positions at the University of Virginia, University of Florida and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is cellist and arranger for the cello/bass duo Low & Lower and is on the faculty of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, SummerStrings@UNCSA and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. He has an international performing career that includes more than 300 concerts across the globe in the United States, Europe and Australia.



Blake Kitayama

Blake KitayamaOriginally from Boulder, CO, Blake Kitayama began playing cello at four years old. He has had the pleasure of performing in ensembles around the country such as the Phoenix Ensemble, the Jackson Symphony, and the Huntsville Symphony, and has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today. An advocate for collaboration and new music, Blake has continuously worked across genres. Providing cello and vocal harmonies, his collaboration with Anna Scholfield won first prize at the eTown Handmade Songs Competition, and he recorded cello for Vidushi Goyal’s debut EP. The passion and artistic diversity at UNCSA inspires him greatly.  Blake earned a Bachelor of Music from Vanderbilt University under the instruction of Felix Wang and is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at University of North Carolina School of the Arts with Brooks Whitehouse as a member of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute.

Benjamin Therrell

Benjamin Therrell

Ben Therrell is a cellist and Suzuki-certified teacher based out of Winston-Salem, NC. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Cello Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) under the guidance of Brooks Whitehouse. Ben currently is a member of the Giannini String Quartet, part of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute directed by Ida Bieler and coached by Ulrich Eichenauer. He has performed with many groups in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Colorado including the Winston-Salem Symphony, Fayetteville Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Boulder Symphony and others.  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. He has taught with the UNM String Pedagogy Lab School, the New Mexico School of Music, and as a freelance private instructor.  Ben has also played for and received feedback from noteworthy cellists such as Lynn Harrell, Alan Harris, Rhonda Rider, Wendy Warner, Antonio Lysy, Brant Taylor, Scott Kluksdahl, Alex Ezerman, Andrew Mark, Kim Cook, Jeff Lestrapes, and Mark Votapek.

Gustavo Antoniacomi

Gustavo Antoniacomi

Gustavo Antoniacomi engages in chamber music projects across the U.S and abroad. In the summer of 2017 Gustavo joined the Tempest Trio, and went through an extensive tour in Germany and Austria performing works from the Piano Trio repertoire as well as from the Cello and Piano literature. He was described as a “sensitive cellist” of the “virtuosic young trio” by the Greiz Newspaper. In the fall of 2017, Gustavo collaborated in a choreography project with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Dance Studio, performing one of Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. He “played Bach live on stage sublimely” –Winston Salem Journal.  Currently Gustavo is a senior cello major at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He is part of Dr. Brooks Whitehouse’s studio and a recipient of financial awards such as the Music Dean’s Scholarship and the Watson Endowed Fletcher Scholarship. Gustavo has performed and participated in masterclasses given by renowned artists such as David Finckel, Amid Peled, Tim Eddy, Paul Watkins, Beiliang Zhu among others. In 2016 Gustavo collaborated with the Chrysalis String Quartet, and played for a string quartet symposium in Lincoln Center (NYC), where they were coached by the Escher String Quartet. Gustavo has played in competitions and attended music festivals in North and South America and he was recently a student at the Heifetz International Music Institute

Joe Collins

Joe CollinsJoe is a musician from Newnan, Ga. who is currently studying cello performance. At the age of nine, Joe began his music study on guitar with John Verner of the US Army Band, and at age 15 began cello lessons with Spencer Brewer of the Chattanooga Symphony.

An eclectic and versatile musician, Joe is also an avid bassist and drummer, and he enjoys combining his classical education with a variety of genres including everything from jazz to classic rock, pop, R&B, punk, and metal. His past projects include collaborating with The Spins, Untold Salem, Maybe Tomorrow, and OK Sweetheart. Joe currently works with a jazz/funk fusion trio, the Space Cadet Orchestra, as a drummer and composer.

Joe takes pride in his passion for education, and he strives to give back to the community both in and outside of the classroom. He teaches private lessons and group sessions at Jackson Middle School and Jackson's Music. As an ArtistCorps service member, Joe gives individual cello lessons and leads pre-kindergarten music classes at Diggs-Latham Elementary.

Josie Greenwald

Josie GreenwaldJosephine (Josie) Greenwald is a second year undergraduate cello performance major from Scottsdale, Arizona. While in high school Josie studied with Jenna Dalbey, the cellist of Tetra String Quartet. In 2017 Josie was awarded the Kenan Excellence Scholarship, UNCSA’s most prestigious scholarship award. As a freshman she had the opportunity to play in UNCSA’s production of the Nutcracker. She is an avid chamber music performer and has participated in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and the International Chamber Music Festival of the Adriatic, in Duino Italy. This past summer she had the opportunity to teach at Tetra String Quartet’s Chamber Music Workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona. Josie currently teaches private lessons at Jackson’s Music.   

Christina Kim

Christina Kim started playing cello in her school orchestra when she was twelve years old. She came to UNC School of the Arts in 2015 to study with Dr. Whitehouse for her senior year, and is now a first year undergraduate student in his studio. She enjoys playing in the UNCSA symphony orchestra and her favorite performances have been the Saint-saens Symphony No. 3 “Organ Symphony” tour and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. She also loves working in chamber music settings. Last year, she had the opportunity to perform with her quartet in a chamber music masterclass given by Ludvig Schmalhofer. Her favorite thing about UNCSA is being surrounded by talented and creative peers in a hardworking environment.

Adithya Muralidharan

Adi MuralidharanAdithya (Adi) Muralidharan is currently a junior in the undergraduate program at UNCSA. He was in the high school program there for his junior and senior year. He plans to get his Bachelor of Music degree and pursue a career as a performing cellist. He was born in California, but grew up in Apex, North Carolina. He has won numerous prizes in the MTNA Competition, the Euterpe Music Festival, the MANC Competition, the NC Symphony Youth Concerto Competition and others.  He has been studying under the tutelage of Brooks Whitehouse for six years. Adi has played in masterclasses for Darrett Adkins, Paul Watkins, Paul Neubauer, Violaine Melançon, Matt Haimovitz, and Zuill Bailey. In addition to playing the cello, he plays the guitar and piano. After his residency at UNCSA, he plans to travel the world playing the cello for a wide variety of audiences.

Noah Allemeier

Noah AllemeierNoah Allemeier is a high school freshman who was born in Germany but has lived in North Carolina since age two. He is looking forward to continuing his cello studies with Dr. Whitehouse at UNCSA, after working with him and other UNCSA faculty at two sessions of Summer Strings. Noah started playing the cello at age four, and played on and off until he started playing in his school’s orchestra program in fourth grade. In sixth grade he began regular lessons with Dr. Mira Frisch at UNC Charlotte, and also joined the Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra. Noah played in the CSJYO for three seasons, serving as principal cellist last season. Noah has performed in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Honors Orchestra, the NC Junior Western Regional Honors Orchestra, and the NC ASTA All State Orchestra, where he was principal cellist. He has participated in the UNCSA Summer Strings program, the Tennessee Cello Workshop at the University of Tennessee, the Great Midwestern Strings Clinic in Iowa, and was a Tosco Music and Symphony Guild of Charlotte Scholarship participant in the Charlotte Community School of the Arts Summer Orchestra program. Noah played in a chamber ensemble through Community School of the Arts for three years. In school, Noah enjoys learning math and history. He is also the freshman music representative in student government.

Helen Campbell

Helen CampbellHelen Campbell is currently a sophomore in high school at UNCSA. Though she was reluctant to begin playing an instrument in the sixth grade, she really began to enjoy the cello after just a few weeks of playing. Before coming to UNCSA, Helen was the principal cellist of the NC Junior Western Regional Honors Orchestra and her school orchestra. In addition to performing, Helen enjoys teaching lessons, and hopes to be a cello professor, while still playing in various solo and chamber concerts. She is inspired by cellists like Kian Soltani, Han-Na Chang, Jacqueline du Pré, Yo-Yo Ma, and Inbal Segev. Helen has many interests outside of music as well. She loves both stand-up comedy and sitcoms and can often be found rewatching one of John Mulaney’s Netflix stand-up specials. Helen also enjoys academic classes, especially Algebra and Spanish. She has liked computer programming since starting last year. During her life, Helen hopes to travel the world, and to eat a lot of great bread along the way. 

Hannah Maier

Hannah MaierHannah Maier was born in South Carolina, but grew up in Germany and loved being surrounded by the arts from a young age. When her family moved back to the United States, she began piano lessons and eventually picked up cello through her elementary school orchestra in fourth grade. Hannah soon began taking private lessons with principal cellist of the Greater Grand Forks Symphony, Naomi Welsh, and is currently a member of Dr. Brooks Whitehouse’s cello studio. She has been a part of multiple youth orchestra programs and chamber music ensembles including the Northern Valley Youth Orchestra and All State Orchestra in North Dakota, the Upper Midwest String and Chamber Music Conference in Minnesota, and the Winston Salem Youth Symphony. UNCSA is helping her work towards her dream of one day traveling around the world while connecting with people through music and taking aesthetically pleasing photos along the way. Now a senior in high school at UNCSA, she is excited to finally perfect her German and work on becoming a better student and musician.


Johanna Di Norcia

Johanna Di NorciaJohanna Di Norcia is a high school Junior from Wilmington, NC. She has loved the cello ever since she began playing it at the age of 9, and her love has increased more for it being able to play in ensembles and lessons at UNCSA. She participated in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont and the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival at ECU in the Summer of 2018, and plans on studying cello after high school in order to have a career and future filled with colorful music. Johanna hopes to travel the world playing the cello, as both a soloist and in ensemble, to showcase the beauty of sounds and their ability to bring out the listener’s emotions. She especially enjoys listening to and playing romantic chamber music. When not practicing, she enjoys helping children with music and athletics, and is Vice President of student government.

Davin Shim

Davin ShimDavin Shim is a high school freshman at UNCSA. He started taking cello lessons in second grade after his sister had been playing cello for three years. He kept at it and when he was nine he entered the Winston Salem Symphony Premiere Strings. After three years of trying he eventually moved on to the Youth Philharmonic. In seventh and 8th grade he took part in the junior western regional orchestra, while also taking part in his school’s math team and the academic league team, which won top prize for two years in a row. While doing all these school related clubs his grades suffered from his lack of organizational skills until the end of eighth grade when he got his act together. Now at 14 he is more studious and dedicated to his instrument, and has moved on to the Winston-Salem Symphony Youth Orchestra as well as the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra.

Sydney Urmston

Sydney UrmstonSydney Urmston is a sophomore in the High School program at UNCSA. She has been taking lessons since seventh grade, but has loved cello since elementary school. In a third grade music class, she heard The Swan by Saint-Saens and instantly fell in love with the cello. After beginning lessons, she began playing in orchestra at the Duke University String School in Durham, NC. She studied there for three years with Carlos Bardales and worked her way to a leadership position in the Youth Symphony. Sydney also participated in the chamber program at the Duke University Strings School for two years and was invited to perform with her chamber group at the NC Symphony Ovations Pre-Concert Performance Series in 2017. Sydney attended the Summer String Intensive at UNCSA in the summer of 2016, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in 2018. She has also participated in the Duke University String School Summer Camp for two years as a camper, then two years as a volunteer.  Sydney attended the ECU Four Seasons Next Generation Chamber Music Festival in 2016. She performed with the Junior Eastern Regional Orchestra in 2017 and Eastern Regional Symphony Orchestra in 2018. Sydney also enjoys spending time at home with her parents and pets.

Notable Alumni

Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth CookElizabeth Cook is a double alumnus of UNCSA, graduating from our high school in 2006, and returning in 2016 for a Performing Artist Certificate. Originally from Durham, NC, she received her bachelor's degree in music from the State University of New York at Purchase College where she studied with Julia Lichten.

In 2012, she moved to Israel to study with cellists Zvi Plesser and Michal Korman at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. She lived in Jerusalem for three years, where she freelanced and taught privately. Elizabeth participated in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance's annual Chamber Music Competition and won first place in May 2012 and third place in May 2013. She also performed in a chamber music concert that was broadcasted live on the Israeli classical music radio station "Kol HaMusica."

In 2014, Elizabeth attended Mannes College of Music at The Newschool University, where she studied with Marcy Rosen for two years. She has participated in masterclasses with artists such as Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Matt Hoffman, and Paul Watkins.

Jewel Kim

Jewel KimJewel Kim is an alumnus of the UNCSA high school class of 2018, and is currently studying cello performance at Boston University with Rhonda Rider. She started playing the piano when she was five and the cello when she was six. As a third grader, Jewel experienced the joy of making harmony with other musicians in her elementary school orchestra for the first time. It was at that moment that cello became a crucial part of her life. She loves playing with other musicians, and this is the reason she loved UNCSA. The school has various ensembles and tremendously talented people, and all the students share the same interest and have a passion for the arts. 

Born in the U.S. and raised in South Korea, Jewel has been very active as both an orchestra member and a soloist since moving to the United States again in early 2013. In addition to participating in school orchestras, she has played in the Triangle Youth Philharmonic, the Mallarme Youth Chamber Orchestra and the North Carolina Governor's School Orchestra. She was also a part of the North Carolina Eastern Regional Orchestra for four consecutive years and the North Carolina All-State Honors Orchestra for two consecutive years. Jewel was also one of the finalists of the Cameron Art Museum Young Musicians Competition in 2016 and received first prize in the Senior Strings division of the North Carolina MTNA Performance Competition in October, 2017.

Eli Kaynor

Eli KaynorCellist Eli Kaynor has just completed a six-month Kenan Fellowship at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. During his tenure at UNCSA, Eli received both a Master of Music degree and a Professional Artist Certificate, while acting as the graduate teaching assistant to Dr. Brooks Whitehouse. While at UNCSA, Eli held an active position in the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute and participated in many exciting chamber performances, including sharing the stage with Silk Road Ensemble artist Wu Man and performing for world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. His chamber groups of the last three years were chosen to appear in master classes at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing for musicians Paul Watkins, Sean Lee and Daniel Phillips.

In 2015, Eli’s group also participated in a performance tour across Spain, leading concerts and master classes in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Alicante. Eli has won major competitions, performing Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Chapman Chamber Orchestra in Orange, Calif., and Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Boston, Mass. Eli is also an avid runner, contradance musician and comic book enthusiast.

Benjamin Maxwell

Ben MaxwellAlumnus Ben Maxwell is from Durham, N.C., where he began playing cello in middle school. Studying with Nancy Green, he played in several chamber groups as well as with the Youth Symphony at the Duke University String School. He graduated high school in 2017 from UNCSA, where he studied with Dr. Brooks Whitehouse for his junior and seniors. He is a winner of the spring 2015 DUSS concerto competition, a finalist in the spring 2016 UNCSA concerto competition, the winner of the 2016 Music Academy of North Carolina Violin and Cello Competition and the winner of the 2017 NC ASTA competition.

He has enjoyed playing for two years in the NCMEA High School All-State Honors Orchestra, and with the summer 2015 World Youth Symphony Orchestra. Ben studied with Hans Horgen Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music during the summer of 2016 and was a recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 2017, studying with Richard Aaron and Darrett Adkins. Ben currently attends the New England Conservatory of Music studying with Yeesun Kim.


Kendall Ramseur

Kendall RamseurRaised in Charlotte North Carolina, Kendall Ramseur began his musical journey as a pianist at the age of seven, and switched to cello when he turned ten.

Kendall received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). He studied cello under the instruction of Dr. Brooks Whitehouse. Upon graduating UNCSA, Kendall matriculated to Boston University’s College of Fine Arts (BU) where he received his Master’s of Music in Cello Performance with Marc Johnson, member of the Vermeer String Quartet.

As a soloist, Mr. Ramseur released his debut album T.I.M.E., in 2013. He was later awarded the Gospel/Inspirational Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards. Since then, Kendall has performed his original compositions at over 100 events in Massachusetts and around the country including: ArtsEmerson “The World on Stage”, Cast Party for “Daniel Beaty”, Wheelock’s 2013 Metro Boston Race Amity Celebration, Kendall Square Concert Series and Boston Green Festival. Kendall was a featured panelist on the Boston University Music Symposium, “The Multi- modal Musician: The Success of Adaptability”. Additionally, the Boston Globe recommended him as one of the top artists to see at the 2014 First Night Boston. In May 2017, Ramseur soloed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra where he performed the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto III Mvmt.

Kendall is one-fourth of the nationally-acclaimed and billboard charting quartet, Sons of Serendip who gained fame during Season 9 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. As a group they average between 40-50 performances a year, traveling both nationally and internationally. Most notably, they have performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops for the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. Kendall has orchestrated various parts for the group’s performances with the Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The quartet was also invited to perform at the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the In Memoriam segment. In 2017, the group released their third studio album Life + Love. As a member of Sons of Serendip, Ramseur has exercised his ability to arrange, orchestrate, compose and program material for both the group’s performances and albums.

Kendall performs on a CR Series Electric Cello, endorsed by NS Design.