9-year-old boy violinist

Here’s an ad from the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a nine-year-old boy who was about to play the violin at Massey Hall.

The boy’s name was actually Paul Lennard, and he was born in Brooklyn on October 16 1920, so he was 11, not 9, when he appeared at Massey Hall.

When Lennard started performing, he was given a Russian-sounding stage name because it was assumed that Russian artists would be taken more seriously. (He had a Russian music teacher and learned how to speak Russian, so he would have had as good a chance as any of pulling it off.) He performed throughout North America and then Europe in the 1930s.

Lennard went on to serve as an army photographer during the Second World War. After the war, he tried to resume his music career, but a train accident made it impossible for him to play. He became a businessman, owning and running a plastics business and branching into manufacturing scientific research equipment.

Lennard passed away on July 19 2020 at the age of 99. His obituary is here; there is also a web site that documents his life.

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