Artist Biography

“…offering an emotional gamut that said as much about the human experience as the acoustics of sound.”

Chicago Sun-Times

Mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley followed apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera with appearances in leading operatic roles including Carmen, Rosina, Dorabella, Despina, and both Rossini and Massenet Cinderellas, from Anchorage to New York. Recognized by the New York Times for her “rich sound, deep expressivity and uncanny sense of pitch,” she was featured as a soloist with orchestras led by George Manahan, Raymond Leppard, Oliver Knussen, Robert Shaw and Pierre Boulez.

Ms. Bentley performs frequently with Chicago’s many fine ensembles, including the Ear Taxi Festival, Contempo, eighth blackbird, the Spektral Quartet, Fulcrum Point, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Opera Theater, the Newberry Consort, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Lyric Opera and the MusicNOW series at Symphony Center with conductor Cliff Colnot. She has appeared to critical acclaim at Alice Tully Hall and Weill Hall with Pierre Boulez as the soloist in Le Marteau Sans Maître, and recorded on the Albany, Cedille and Tintagel labels.

Recent engagements have included performances of La Damnation de Faust with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Pierrot Lunaire with eighth blackbird, La Cenerentola with Sacramento Opera, Berg’s Lyric Suite with the Emerson String Quartet, and the Bach B Minor Mass with the Apollo Chorus as well as chamber music series in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. She is honored to have a 20-year affiliation with The New Budapest Orpheum Society and applauds its intrepid efforts to connect with audiences during the pandemic, featuring music from their Grammy-nominated CD As Dreams Fall Apart (available at Cedille Records) abroad and at home, as Artists in Residence at the University of Chicago. She is an Associate Professor of Voice and Graduate Art Song Literature at the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana.

Aviator Dragonfly, by Kerry Hirth
(inspired by Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de Terre et du Ciel)