Center For Arts & Equity

Catherine Bent

Cellist and composer Catherine Bent, originally from London, UK, has lived in New York City, Rio de Janeiro, and Boston. Her range and musical versatility are reflected in her diverse resumé, which includes recordings, performances and tours with Cirque du Soleil, Joe Jackson, Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton, Greg Osby, Merce Cunningham Dance, Enya, Vitamin String Quartet, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Patty Larkin, and poet laureate Robert Pinsky. She has performed in 46 US states and 14 European countries.

In 2008, Catherine started creating choro groups and sessions in Boston even before the first time she arrived in Brazil with her cello, in 2012.

Finding a joyful expression of harmony and groove in a synergetic container akin to chamber music, she made Brazilian instrumental music her primary focus. She performs and collaborates with established Boston musicians, as well as the churning population of students and visiting scholars. She founded the Berklee Clube de Choro, and is on the faculty of Choro Camp New England, in Northampton MA (June 17 – 22, 2024). Director of Rio’s Escola Portátil da Música, Pedro Aragão is among many Brazilians who have recognized Catherine’s mastery of the choro language and repertoire and her preëminence on the cello.

Venues Catherine has headlined include the Instituto Villa Lobos and Casa do Choro in Rio de Janeiro, Clube de Choro in Brasília, Festival Vale do Café, and the legendary samba club Ó do Borogodó. She was a featured soloist
seven times with Conjunto Época de Ouro (originally Jacob do Bandolim’s band; still the torch-bearers of traditional choro), on Rádio Nacional.

As a pioneering cellist in choro, Catherine is in demand as a teacher in Brazil. She has given masterclasses at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), and for FIOCRUZ at the Orquestra de Câmera do Palácio Itaboraí.

Catherine holds a Masters in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos. Her cello mentors have included Luis Garcia-Renart, Dorothy Lawson and Astrid Schween. She has done listening and presence work with Pauline Oliveiros and Kenny Werner, and she practices the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education.

Catherine has been a professor at Berklee College of Music since 2010, where she developed the first course offerings in choro for the String Department. She has presented on Brazilian music at three American String Teachers Association (ASTA) conferences, and is committed to supporting students and teachers in the world of multi-style string playing. Keen to share her findings on the cello’s role as accompanist (as well as soloist) she is writing the book Creatudes: Brazilian rhythmic and harmonic adventures for strings.

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