Kat Berentsen, jazz vocalist
Described by Lauren Kinhan of the New York Voices as having a "voice like chocolate," jazz vocalist Kat Berentsen is not only a singer, but an experienced lyricist, pianist, and teacher as well.
Kat began her musical career at the age of eight when she started taking piano lessons in her hometown of Milton, WI. She continued being involved in music, joining both the Concert and Show Choirs of her hometown schools and winning many awards for singing throughout southern Wisconsin.
In 1994, she was accepted as a Vocal Performance Major at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where she began voice lessons with Patrice Michaels-Bedi. While at Lawrence she began studying with composers D. Bayne and Ken Schaphorst, where she developed a love for jazz music and was a featured soloist with the Lawrence University Jazz Choir and Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble.
Ms. Berentsen's love of jazz drew her to New York City in the fall of 1996 where she attended the Manhattan School of Music and began taking lessons with vocalist Anne Marie Moss. She continued her studies at Manhattan with Peter Eldridge of the New York Voices, whom she continues to study with. While at MSM, Kat was involved in the Jazz Outreach Program under the direction of Ms. Katherine Soroka, Mr. Jeffery Jammer, and Mr. Justin DiCioccio. The intensive program is designed to bring music into diverse communities and environments throughout Metropolitan New York City. Ms. Berentsen was also a member of the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Choir under the direction of Jackie Presti. Their performances included opening for the New York Voices, private concerts, and community events. In addition, Kat performed in Masterclasses with Cassandra Wilson, Annie Ross, Jay Clayton, and David Friesen.
Having graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in the spring of 1999, Kat performs throughout New York City both as a soloist and with the Kat Berentsen Quartet, formed in the early spring of 1999. In addition, she works with Education Through Music, a non-profit organization that places teaching artists into elementary and junior high schools in order to enhance the performance of the students' curriculum studies. Through ETM, Kat currently teaches at St. Philip Neri in the Bronx. Other performances include The Young New Yorkers Club, The Redeye Grill, Tahlia, Don't Tell Mama, The Cotton Club, Jazz on the Park, Soundz Bar, and various coffeehouses throughout Manhattan. Most recently, she recorded and produced her CD titled "It Could Happen." Completed in the spring of 2001, it contains both original and standard tunes with many of the latter containing her own lilting lyrics and intricate vocaleses. Kat currently resides in New York City.