Catherine Bent

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • Toured with Cirque du Soleil, Joe Jackson, and A. R. Rahman
  • Performed with Lee Konitz, Joan Osborne, Greg Osby, Enya, and Kanye West
  • Played in Les Misérables and Cats on Broadway
  • Soloist with Conjunto Época de Ouro on Rádio Nacional, Brazil
  • Director of Sweet Spot Strings—arranging, production, and remote recording
  • Director of Axis Ensemble—event music service
  • Current projects include the Why (acoustic jazz quartet), Trio Choro Brasil, and Waters of March (original chamber jazz sextet)
  • Acclaim received for album Ideal, released in 2018: "One of the best Brazilian recordings you’ll hear this year” –Vancouver Sun
    “Bent’s compositions...have an instantly classic sound that’ll get you swinging and swaying with delight" – Roots World
  • M.M., New England Conservatory
  • B.A., Vassar College
In Their Own Words

"I've worked in many musical styles, ranging from samba to hip-hop to opera. In every side-musician gig that I've held, and in every creative project I've led or been involved with, I rely on the aural skills I've built over the years. For instance, sight-reading on a recording session, arranging and directing on the fly, or memorizing a book of tunes in a week and fully inhabiting the music on stage, projecting mastery and joy." 

"In every genre, these super-powers boil down to the same set of basic skills, and the ability to communicate with other musicians. To my students I say, 'Start wherever you are now!' I expect you to practice a lot and dedicate yourselves to your ear training, because I know the hard work pays huge dividends. There is no short cut to becoming that irreplaceable first-call player or arranger or engineer." 

"In my classes we move fast. I love to animate the concepts with musical examples from all over, and to relate the techniques as much as possible to the situations you'll encounter. I’ll give you the opportunity to develop the skills to complement your technical practice and make you a literate and confident all-around musician." 

"My students love the rewards that come with this work, which are revealed even more down the road. I love seeing them get it. And the best part of it is that you will always be able to teach yourself more, build on that foundation, and take your music in any direction you desire."