Julia Kent is a New York City-based cellist, composer, recording artist, and in-demand session musician. A Canadian native, Kent was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied cello at Indiana University in Bloomington. Upon completion of her studies, she relocated to New York City. She was an original member of the pioneering rock & roll cello trio Rasputina, with Melora Creager and Agnieszka Rybska. Donning Victorian-era costumes and performing their own brand of gothic chamber pop, this version of the band recorded Thanks for the Ether in 1996; Transylvanian Regurgitations, an EP of remixes by Marilyn Manson, in 1997; and How We Quit the Forest in 1998.
Kent left the group after the latter album's supporting tour, and began a long period of session and concert work with other musicians. She is best known as a standing member of Antony and the Johnsons, where she serves as both cellist and string arranger. That said, her résumé is extensive, and includes work with a diverse array of artists including Burnt Sugar, Sex Mob, the Angels of Light, Devendra Banhart, Mi and L'au, Larsen, Leona Naess, Angela McCluskey, Donovan, Rufus Wainwright, Richard Barone, Ryan Adams, Norah Jones, William Parker, Jarboe, Teddy Thompson, and Turkish rocker Teoman.
Kent released her debut solo album, Delay, in 2007. The album showcased her cello and live digital delay loops in a series of deeply melodic compositions of astonishing detail and arrangement. She also continued her session work and touring. In 2008, she contributed music to Irene Lichtenstein's documentary film Mario Benjamin, about the great Haitian painter, and to P.J. Taval's film Trinidad. In 2010, she released the EP Last Day in July, and collaborated with electronic sound artist and vocalist Barbara DeDominicis on the score for Davide Lionardi's film Mon Apparente. Kent's second full-length, Green and Grey, was issued in 2011 on Important and met with international acclaim for its marriage of highly original compositions, which combined digital effects and field recordings.
That same year she contributed music to the film This Must Be the Place by director Paolo Sorrentino, and the score for the dance work 5 for Silver by choreographer Douglas Lee that was performed by the Norwegian National Ballet. She also worked extensively in the theater. She collaborated with Paul Beauchamp in scoring Giordano V. Amato's Il Tempo Scolpito for the Torino Festival and with Michael Camp in the music for Albert Ostermaier's Radio Noir that premiered at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, and she composed the score for the theatrical concert Dieci Anni Dopo il Paradiso, by author Israel Horovitz, commemorating the ten-year anniversary of September 11.
In 2012, Kent and DeDominicis collaborated again to record Parallel 41 (titled for the imaginary line that runs through New York City and Naples, Italy where DeDominicis lives). In addition, she scored director Ariel Nasr's The Boxing Girls of Kabul. Despite the intensity of her schedule, Kent found the time to record her third album; Character was released by Leaf in March of 2013. She also contributed string arrangements to Swans' 2014 album To Be Kind, and her fourth solo album, Asperities, appeared on Leaf in 2015. ~ Thom Jurek