Cellist and composer Catherine Bent, originally from London, UK, has lived in New York City and Brazil and currently resides in Boston. Her musical versatility is reflected in her diverse resumé, which includes recordings, performances and tours with Cirque du Soleil, Joe Jackson, Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Enya, Vitamin String Quartet, Merce Cunningham Dance, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Daniela Spielmann (CCNE faculty 2023), Choro das 3 (CCNE faculty 2018) and poet laureate Robert Pinsky. She has performed in 46 US states and 14 European countries.
In 2008, Catherine started creating choro ensembles in Boston even before the first time she arrived in Brazil with her cello, in 2012. She continues to collaborate with established Boston musicians as well as the churning population of students and visiting scholars. She founded the Berklee Clube de Choro and has been hosting public rodas since 2018.
Pedro Aragão—director of the Escola Portátil da Música in Rio—is among many who have recognized Catherine’s preëminence on the cello in choro, and the depth of her knowledge of language and repertoire. She has performed at the Instituto Villa Lobos and Casa do Choro in Rio de Janeiro, the Clube de Choro in Brasília, and the festival Vale do Café. 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 also 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.
In Boston, she 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 choro at two American String Teachers Association (ASTA) conferences and is committed to supporting students and teachers in the world of eclectic string playing. Keen to share her findings on the cello’s role as accompanist (as well as soloist) she is working on her book Creatudes: Brazilian rhythmic and harmonic adventures for strings.
Listen here to Catherine’s 2019 album release Ideal. Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, it features ten original compositions with cello at the helm.
And here’s Catherine with bandolinist Ian Coury playing one of her compositions, entitled “A Boa Filha Partiu.”
And here’s Catherine’s take Garoto’s classic valsa, “Desvairada”.