Sylvia Lent

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Sylvia Lent, from a 1922 publication.

Sylvia Lent (June 11, 1903 – March 25, 1972) was an American violinist.

Early life[edit]

Sylvia Lent was born in Washington, D. C., the daughter of composer and cellist Ernest Lent and pianist Mary (Mamie) Simons Lent.[1] Ernest Lent was born and educated in Germany.[2] She studied violin with her cousin, Gilbert Ross (their mothers were sisters), from childhood through studies in Chicago with Leopold Auer. Ross later became a music professor at Cornell University.[3][4] She also studied with Ovide Musin[5] and Franz Kneisel.[6]


Sylvia Lent made her debut concert tour in Germany,[7] playing in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Munich in 1922.[8][9] Her New York debut followed in March of 1923.[10] By age 23 she had been featured as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra of New York, and the New York Symphony Orchestra.[11][12] She played a rare Domenico Montagnana violin made in 1735, a gift from a collector in Minnesota.[13]

Her youthful appearance and small stature were frequently mentioned in reviews of her concerts, even when she was well into adulthood.[14] "She is petite, sylph-like, with an almost childish face and head," mentioned one 1933 newspaper account, before describing her skills.[15] In 1927 she was the youngest artist ever featured on The Atwater Kent Hour radio program.[16] She made one recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company, in 1924.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Sylvia Lent married San Francisco Chronicle art and music critic Alfred Frankenstein in 1935. They had two sons, John and David, and lived in San Francisco, California.[18] She died from a heart attack in 1972, aged 69 years, in San Francisco.[19] Her granddaughter Karen Frankenstein is an opera singer.[20]


  1. ^ William Winfield Scott, History of Passaic and Its Environs (Lewis Historical Publishing Company 1922): 73.
  2. ^ International Who's who in Music and Musical Gazetteer (Current Literature Publishing Company 1918): 369.
  3. ^ Gilbert Ross, "The Auer Mystique" Michigan Quarterly Review 14(3)(Summer 1975): 311-312.
  4. ^ Gilbert Ross Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.
  5. ^ "Music and Musicians" Washington Post (July 13, 1919): E3.
  6. ^ Richard Aldrich, "Music" New York Times (March 6, 1923): 26.
  7. ^ "German Critics Praise D. C. Artist" Washington Times (December 7, 1922): 23. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Sylvia Lent Creates Excellent Impression in Berlin Concerts" Musical Courier (December 14, 1922): 59.
  9. ^ "Sylvia Lent Scores in Dresden" Musical Courier (December 28, 1922): 33.
  10. ^ "Sylvia Lent Comes Home" Washington Post (February 26, 1928): F1.
  11. ^ Elizabeth E. Poe, "In the Realm of Musical Affairs" Washington Post (March 21, 1926): F6.
  12. ^ "Sylvia Lent Its Soloist" New York Times (November 6, 1924): 23.
  13. ^ "Sylvia Lent Possesses Rare Old Montagnana" Washington Post (March 4, 1928): F1.
  14. ^ Mozelle Horton, "Sylvia Lent, Young and Girlish, is from Family of Musicians" Atlanta Constitution (December 11, 1934): 3.
  15. ^ "Sylvia Lent Wins Deserved Ovation" Washington Post (January 30, 1933): 3.
  16. ^ "Capital Girl Plays in Kent Hour Tonight" Washington Post (February 20, 1927): F10.
  17. ^ Discography of American Historical Recordings, "Sylvia Lent (instrumentalist: violin)" (accessed November 19, 2017).
  18. ^ "Sylvia Lent, Soloist" Sausalito News (April 3, 1936): 3. via California Digital Newspapers Collection.
  19. ^ "Violinist Sylvia Frankenstein" Washington Post (March 27, 1972): C4.
  20. ^ Karen Frankenstein, biography.

External links[edit]