Born in 1914 in the Nez Perce, Idaho, Lanier began her violin education at the age of 4. At the age of 13 she played her first concert in Seattle, where she and her family had moved. Lanier attended the University of Oregon, where she studied with Rex Underwood. While in university, she appeared as a soloist with the University Orchestra and the Portland Symphony.
Lanier earned her Master of Music from NEC in 1938, studying under Harrison Keller. The same year she received the Frank Huntington Beebe Scholarship for Travel and Study Abroad, during which she studied with Adolph Busch in Switzerland and George Enesco in Paris.
Lanier taught at the Longy School of Music and the Groton School, while continuing to perform not only with the Boston Symphony Pops but also in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Around this time she married Sterling Lanier with whom she had two daughters, Elizabeth (Betse) Lanier and Margaret Lanier Brown.
In 1950 she co-founded with Virginia Bacon and directed the NEC Music Course for Young Players, which was renamed the Preparatory Department, then the Special Student Department, and eventually the Extension Division. This school not only teaches pre-college students but also offers non-degree programs for adults. Lanier led the school until 1975 when the leadership role was taken over by A. Ramon Rivera. During this time she established three branch schools and expanded the Preparatory School to 800 students.
Lanier continued to teach and perform after retiring from her leadership role at NEC. A scholarship was set up in her name as well as an honor seat in Jordan Hall. She won numerous awards including the American String Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year” Award in 1982.
She received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from NEC in 1992. She stayed involved in the Preparatory School through the 50th Anniversary in 2000. She passed away in 2000.
The Frances Brockman Lanier collection occupies one linear foot, or one box and an oversized folder. The collection consists mainly of paper files but also has a good number of newspaper clippings and photographs.
This collection includes material created by, and belonging to Frances Brockman Lanier. The materials were donated to the Conservatory by her daughter, Betse Lanier, in August 2008.
Access to the Frances Brockman Lanier collection is granted by the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.
All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Frances Brockman Lanier Collection. New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.